Articles | Volume 18, issue 11
Research article
03 Nov 2014
Research article |  | 03 Nov 2014

Simulating the connections of ENSO and the rainfall regime of East Africa and the upper Blue Nile region using a climate model of the Tropics

M. A. H. Zaroug, F. Giorgi, E. Coppola, G. M. Abdo, and E. A. B. Eltahir

Abstract. We simulate the observed statistical relationship between ENSO and the rainfall regime of the upper Blue Nile using the tropical-band version of the regional climate model RegCM4 (or Reg-TB). An ensemble of nine simulations for the 28-year period 1982–2009 is completed to investigate the role of ENSO in modulating rainfall over the upper Blue Nile catchment. Reg-TB shows a good skill in simulating the climatology of temperature, outgoing long-wave radiation patterns as well as related atmospheric circulation features during the summer season (i.e. the rainy season over the Blue Nile catchment). The model also succeeds in reproducing the observed negative correlation between Pacific SST and rainfall anomalies over the Blue Nile catchment, and in particular the association of droughts over the Blue Nile with El Niño events that start in April–June. We thus propose that observations and model forecasts of Pacific SST during this season could be used in seasonal forecasting of summer rainfall over the upper Blue Nile region.