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Sub-seasonal to Interannual variability and Predictability of rainfall over East Africa

Active Dates 9/1/2023-8/31/2026
Program Area Environmental Systems Science
Project Description
The overarching objective of this project is to build capacity of the Atmospheric Science and Meteorology Program at North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT), an HBCU, through experiential training and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students. We will train NCAT students with advanced computation techniques and equip them with cutting-edge research through a new collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division (ASGC). Our partnership with ASGC will fill a critical gap that involves high-end computational regional climate modeling. Our partnership will also provide an opportunity for a sustainable undergraduate and graduate education and research program in climate and environmental sciences, consistent with DOE’s strategic plan through the Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research. The proposed research will focus on two distinct but integrated areas of research: (i) intraseasonal to interannual variability of precipitation and its interaction with different types of moist convective processes and (ii) frequency and variability of extended wet and dry events within the rainy period and how they relate to intraseasonal modes of variability. We expect to advance our knowledge and understanding of the sub-seasonal to interannual variability of precipitation processes including the impact of intraseasonal modes on different types of deep convection, and diurnal cycle over East Africa. We will achieve our objective through experiential learning and training of students and by conducting deep observational and theoretical analysis, integrated with regional modeling.

The proposed research will address one of the most important concerns of our Nation: increasing participation of underrepresented minorities that have very little involvement in atmospheric sciences research and, thereby, increase a well-trained diverse workforce. This research and educational program will be impactful because it will fill a critical gap in climate science education and research through a lasting partnership with PNNL in areas of shared interest. It will provide undergraduate and beginning graduate student’s practical introduction to regional climate modeling at sub-seasonal to seasonal timescales, familiarizing them with high performance computing methods and tools. The proposed research focuses on tropical precipitation variability and land-atmosphere interactions that has implications for water, food, and energy resources, which are critical for East Africa. Outcomes of the research and education will have societal impacts as well. Sub-seasonal to seasonal rainfall prediction skill for East Africa is weak and this is, at least, in part due to the lack of understanding of the multiscale interaction between intraseasonal scale and shorter time scale (diurnal to synoptic scale) variabilities and the associated mechanisms. Therefore, this research will have an impact for medium to longer-term weather forecasts for Africa and ultimately to its food security and stability. Broader impacts of the proposed project include contribution to the knowledge base related to the African monsoon variability.
Award Recipient(s)
  • North Carolina A&T State University (PI: Mekonnen, Ademe)