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Journal Article: ID no. (ISBN etc.):  0022-1694 BibTeX citation key:  Frappart2009
Frappart, F., Hiernaux, P., Guichard, F., Mougin, E., Kergoat, L., Arjounin, M., Lavenu, F., Koité, M., Paturel, J.-E. & Lebel, T. (2009) Rainfall regime across the Sahel band in the Gourma region, Mali. IN Journal of Hydrology, 375. 128–142.
Added by: Devic 2009-09-17 15:24:14    Last Edited by: Fanny Lefebvre 2010-09-24 16:52:45
Categories: General, Land surface processes, Land surface-atmosphere feedback, Water cycle
Keywords: Diurnal cycle
Creators: Arjounin, Frappart, Guichard, Hiernaux, Kergoat, Koité, Lavenu, Lebel, Mougin, Paturel
Collection: Journal of Hydrology
Bibliographies: cnrm, Prior150410

Peer reviewed
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Maturity index:  published

The Sahel is characterized by low and highly variable rainfall, which strongly affects the hydrology and the climate of the region and creates severe constraints for agriculture and water management. This study provides the first characterization of the rainfall regime for the Gourma region located in Mali, Central Sahel (14.5–17.5°N and 2–1°S). The rainfall regime is described using two datasets: the daily long term raingauge records covering the period 1950–2007, and the high frequency raingauge records collected under the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) project between 2005 and 2008. The first rainfall dataset was used to analyse the interannual variability and the spatial distribution of the precipitation. The second dataset is used to analyse the diurnal cycle of precipitation and the nature of the rainfall. This study is complementary to previous analyses conducted in Sahelian areas located further south, where the influence of the continental Sahara heat low is expected to be less pronounced in summer.
Rainfall regimes in the Gourma region present a succession of wet (1950–1969) and dry decades (1970–2007). The decrease of summer cumulative rainfall is explained by a reduction in the number of the rainy days in southern Gourma, and a decrease in both the number of rainy days and the daily rainfall in northern and central Gourma. This meridional difference may be related to the relative distances of the zones from the intertropical discontinuity, which is closer to the northern stations. The length of the rainy season has varied since the 1950s with two episodes of shorter rainy seasons: during the drought of the 1980s and also since 2000. However, this second episode is characterized by an increase in the daily rainfall, which suggests an intensification of rainfall events in the more recent years.
High-frequency data reveal that a large fraction of the rainfall is produced by intense rain events mostly occurring in late evenings and early mornings during the core of the rainy season (July–September). Conversely, rainfall amounts are less around noon, and this mid-day damping is more pronounced in northern Gourma. All these characteristics have strong implications for agriculture and water resources management.
Last Edited by: Fanny Lefebvre