Understanding linkages between global climate indices and terrestrial water storage changes over Africa using GRACE products
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Africa, a continent endowed with huge water resources that sustain its agricultural activities is increasingly coming under threat from impacts of climate extremes (droughts and floods), which puts the very precious water resource into jeopardy. Understanding the relationship between climate variability and water storage over the continent, therefore, is paramount in order to inform future water management strategies. This study employs Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data and the higher order (fourth order cumulant) statistical independent component analysis (ICA) method to study the relationship between terrestrial water storage (TWS) changes and five global climate-teleconnection indices; El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) over Africa for the period 2003–2014. Pearson correlation analysis is applied to extract the connections between these climate indices (CIs) and TWS, from which some known strong CI-rainfall relationships (e.g., over equatorial eastern Africa) are found. Results indicate unique linear-relationships and regions that exhibit strong linkages between CIs and TWS. Moreover, unique regions having strong CI-TWS connections that are completely different from the typical ENSO-rainfall connections over eastern and southern Africa are also identified. Furthermore, the results indicate that the first dominant independent components (IC) of the CIs are linked to NAO, and are characterized by significant reductions of TWS over southern Africa. The second dominant ICs are associated with IOD and are characterized by significant increases in TWS over equatorial eastern Africa, while the combined ENSO and MJO are apparently linked to the third ICs, which are also associated with significant increase in TWS changes over both southern Africa, as well as equatorial eastern Africa.
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