05 Sep 2022
05 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

The impact of the Agulhas Current System on precipitation in southern Africa in regional climate simulations covering the recent past and future

Nele Tim1, Eduardo Zorita1, Birgit Hünicke1, and Ioana Ivanciu2 Nele Tim et al.
  • 1Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling, Max-Planck-Strasse 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 2GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany

Abstract. Southern African climate is strongly impacted by climate change. Precipitation is a key variable in this region as it is linked to agriculture and water supply. An analysis of simulations with a regional atmospheric model over the last decades and the 21st century shows that in the past precipitation has decreased in some coastal areas of South Africa and increased in the rest of southern Africa. However, it is projected to decrease over the whole southern part of the domain in the future. The Agulhas Current System, including the current and the leakage, surrounds the continent in the east and south and it is found to impact precipitation. The reduction in the strength of the Agulhas Current is linked to a reduction in precipitation along the southeast coast. The Agulhas leakage, the part of the Agulhas Current that leaves the system and flows into the South Atlantic, impacts the precipitation in the southwest of the continent, located in the winter rainfall zone. A more intense Agulhas leakage is linked to a reduction in precipitation in this region.

Nele Tim et al.

Status: open (until 21 Oct 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wcd-2022-47', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Sep 2022 reply

Nele Tim et al.

Nele Tim et al.


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Short summary
As stated in the IPCC, southern Africa is one of the two land regions that are projected to suffer from the strongest precipitation reductions in the future. Simulated drying in this region is linked to the adjacent oceans and prevailing winds as warm and moist air masses are transported towards the continent. Precipitation trends in past and future climate can be partly attributed to the strength of the Agulhas Current System, the current along the east and south coast of Southern Africa.