African low‐level jets and their importance for water vapor transport and rainfall

Authors: Callum Munday, Richard Washington, Neil Hart

An important gap in understanding possible future changes to African rainfall is in assessing how water vapour—which is a key ingredient for rainfall—travels from the Indian Ocean into the African interior. In this research, the authors show that over 200,000 tonnes of water vapor are transported each second through a series of invisible rivers, which flow through the atmosphere in valleys interrupting the high mountains of the East African Rift System. The models that they use to project rainfall change can capture the structure of these invisible rivers, but only if they represent the mountains of tropical Africa realistically.

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Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, UNICEF

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