Variety of Forcings

A unique combination of external and internal forcings makes West Africa one of the most climatically sensitive regions of the world (Zeng 2003), and probably one of the most challenging to decipher, interpret and model (Jenkins et al. 2002) due to the superposition of numerous competing variability modes. Variability in rainfall results from location and astronomic forcings, which determine the seasonality of climate; oceanic-atmospheric large-scale forcings, which condition regional circulation and determine the season's potential; synoptic and sub-synoptic features, which control actual weather patterns and determine the realization of the season (Lister and Palutikof 2001). Interactions between these determinants are further complicated by land surface conditions which act as 'after-burners' of the regional climate engine (Traoré 2004).

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