Articles | Volume 19, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 1623–1647, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-1623-2019

Special issue: Results of the project "Dynamics–aerosol–chemistry–cloud...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 1623–1647, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-1623-2019
Research article
07 Feb 2019
Research article | 07 Feb 2019

The role of low-level clouds in the West African monsoon system

Anke Kniffka et al.

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Cited articles

Adler, B., Kalthoff, N., and Gantner, L.: Nocturnal low-level clouds over southern West Africa analysed using high-resolution simulations, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 899–910, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-899-2017, 2017. 
Adler, R. F., Huffman, G. J., Chang, A., Ferraro, R., Xie, P., Janowiak, J., Rudolf, B., Schneider, U., Curtis, S., Bolvin, D., Gruber, A., Susskind, J., Arkin, P., and Nelkin, E.: The Version-2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979–present), J. Hydrometeorol., 4, 1147–1167, https://doi.org/10.1175/1525-7541(2003)004<1147:TVGPCP>2.0.CO;2, 2003. 
Barker, H. W., Marshak, A., Szyrmer, W., Blanchet, J., Trishchenko, A., and Li, Z.: Inference of cloud optical depth from aircraft-based solar radiometric measurements, J. Atmos. Sci., 59, 2093–2111, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(2002)059<2093:IOCODF>2.0.CO;2, 2002. 
Bechtold, P., Köhler, M., Jung, T., Doblas-Reyes, F., Leutbecher, M., Rodwell, M., Vitart, F., and Balsamo, G.: Advances in simulating atmospheric variability with the ECMWF model: From synoptic to decadal time-scales, Q. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 134, 1337–1351, 2008. 
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Short summary
The role of low-level clouds in the southern West Africa (SWA) energy balance and the West African monsoon system is assessed via targeted sensitivity studies with the NWP model ICON. We show for the first time that rainfall over SWA depends logarithmically on the optical thickness of low clouds, as these control the diurnal evolution of the planetary boundary layer, vertical stability and finally convection. Small variations in clouds or aerosol have a substantial impact on precipitation.
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