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Present and future trends in winds and SST off central East Africa

Marisol García-Reyes
Shigalla B. Mahongo


The coast of central East Africa (CEA) is a dynamic region in terms of climate, in which fisheries and marine-related services impact a large portion of the population. The main driver of regional dynamics is the seasonal alternation of the Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE) monsoons. Winds associated with these monsoons modulate the prevalent, remotely-forced East African Coastal Current (EACC). Here, present and future trends in winds and sea surface temperature (SST) of the CEA and adjacent regions are investigated using reanalysis and reconstructed data, and an ensemble of General Circulation Models. It was found that the winds and SST show unidirectional trends, with magnitude and spatial differences between the NE and SE monsoons. Winds show weakening trends during the NE monsoon, in the past and future, of the Somali region; with no significant trends during the SE monsoon. SST shows increasing trends in the entire region in the past and future, with stronger warming during the NE monsoon off Somalia; SST trends are smaller in the CEA. These trends could impact the CEA through increased water-column stability and decreased upwelling due to shifting of the EACC separation from the continent. However, given the coarse resolution of data analyzed, regional modeling is still necessary to understand the impacts on local dynamics and productivity in the CEA.