Better predictability of weather and climate in West Africa and Southern Europe will now be possible thanks to AMMA, a project co-funded by the EU. It provides climate information enabling the planning of adaptation measures to climate regional variations for agriculture and other sectors.
The African monsoon is an intensive rainy period that brings most of the annual precipitation in less than four months. In recent decades, many issues have arisen due to the monsoon variability relating to, for example, sustainability, land degradation, and food and water security. AMMA brought together over 140 European, African and American laboratories which gathered data and performed model simulations, with the aim of better understanding the reasons behind disturbances of the African monsoon.
Thanks to their efforts, the mechanisms regulating the monsoon and its societal impacts start being unravelled. In particular, researchers have shown that the formation of cold water in the Guinean Gulf plays a determining role in the monsoon onset. Similarly, the meteorological conditions in the Mediterranean Sea or in the Indian Ocean are crucial factors in the variability and retreat of the monsoon. The behaviour of soil moisture, river discharger and the level of ground water under the effect of previous precipitation and human activities were studied. Furthermore, the project examined the determination of aerosol emissions, especially carbonate and from pollution, and their impacts on heath.
Seasonal weather and climate forecasts have been improved using the integrated data gathered under AMMA. This is not only the case for West Africa but also for Europe. The knowledge of the mechanisms of the African monsoon helps devise better systems for predicting its variations. It gives insight in the consequences of global climate change at regional and local scales and also its impact on the people, their health as well as agricultural resources and water resources.
For more information on AMMA, please visit the project website.