Relationship between synoptic circulations and the spatial distributions of rainfall in Zimbabwe


This study examines how the atmospheric circulation patterns in Africa south of the equator govern the spatial distribution of precipitation in Zimbabwe. The moisture circulation patterns are designated by an ample set of eight classified circulation types (CTs). Here it is shown that all wet CTs over Zimbabwe features enhanced cyclonic/convective activity in the southwest Indian Ocean. Therefore, enhanced moisture availability in the southwest Indian Ocean is necessary for rainfall formation in parts of Zimbabwe. The wettest CT in Zimbabwe is characterized by a ridging South Atlantic Ocean high-pressure, south of South Africa, driving an abundance of southeast moisture fluxes, from the southwest Indian Ocean into Zimbabwe. Due to the proximity of Zimbabwe to the Agulhas and Mozambique warm current, the activity of the ridging South Atlantic Ocean anticyclone is a dominant synoptic feature that favors above-average rainfall in Zimbabwe. Also, coupled with a weaker state of the Mascarene high, it is shown that a ridging South Atlantic Ocean high-pressure, south of South Africa, can be favorable for the southwest movement of tropical cyclones into the eastern coastal landmasses resulting in above-average rainfall in Zimbabwe. The driest CT is characterized by the northward track of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude cyclones leading to enhanced westerly fluxes in the southwest Indian Ocean, limiting moist southeast winds into Zimbabwe

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