Spatial and temporal variation of precipitation in Sudan and their possible causes during 1948-2005 Academic Article uri icon


  • Temporal and spatial patterns of precipitation are essential to the understanding of soil moisture status which is vital for vegetation regeneration in the arid ecosystems. The purposes of this study are (1) to understand the temporal and spatial variations of precipitation in Sudan during 1948-2005 by using high quality global precipitation data known as Precipitation REConstruction (PREC), which has been constructed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, and (2) to discuss the relationship between precipitation variability and moisture flux based on the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data in order to ascertain the potential causes of the spatial and temporal variations of precipitation in the region. Results showed that (1) annual and monthly precipitation in Sudan had great spatial variability, and mean annual precipitation varied from almost nil in the North to about 1500 mm in the extreme Southwest; (2) precipitation of the main rain season, i. e., July, August and September, and annual total precipitation in the central part of Sudan decreased significantly during 1948-2005; (3) abrupt change points were found in the annual, July, August and September in the late 1960s, when precipitation decreased more rapidly than in other periods; and (4) the decreasing precipitation was associated with the weakening African summer monsoon. The summer moisture flux over Sudan tended to be decreasing after the late 1960s which decreased the northward propagation of moisture flux in North Africa. This study provides a complementary view to the previous studies that attempted to explain the Sahel persistent drought and possible causes. 2011 The Author(s).

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Z., Xu, C., El-Tahir, M., Cao, J., & Singh, V. P.

citation count

  • 30

publication date

  • March 2012