DOI: 10.1029/2023jd038712 ISSN:

Storylines of Sahel Precipitation Change: Roles of the North Atlantic and Euro‐Mediterranean Temperature

Paul‐Arthur Monerie, Michela Biasutti, Juliette Mignot, Elsa Mohino, Benjamin Pohl, Giuseppe Zappa
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics


Future changes in Sahel precipitation are uncertain because of large differences among projections from various models. In order to explore this uncertainty, we use a storyline approach which seeks to identify alternative plausible evolutions of Sahel precipitation and their driving factors. By analyzing projections from the CMIP6 climate models, we show that changes in North Atlantic and in Euro‐Mediterranean temperatures explain up to 60% of the central Sahel precipitation change uncertainty. We then construct several storylines of Sahel precipitation change based on future plausible changes in North Atlantic and Euro‐Mediterranean temperatures. In one storyline, an amplified warming of both the North Atlantic and the Euro‐Mediterranean areas promotes a northward shift of the West African monsoon, increasing precipitation over the central Sahel, while, in the opposite storyline, a moderate warming in both regions is associated with a small change in precipitation over the central Sahel and a decrease in precipitation over the western Sahel, at the end of the 21st century. These results indicate that Sahel precipitation uncertainty will not be substantially reduced unless the uncertainty in the future warming of the North Atlantic and the Euro‐Mediterranean areas is constrained.

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