Inter-annual Variability of Temperature and Extreme Heat Events during the Nairobi Warm Season

Scott A, Misiani HO, Zaitchik BF, Ouma GO, Anyah RO, Jordan A. "Inter-annual Variability of Temperature and Extreme Heat Events during the Nairobi Warm Season." AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 2016.


Extreme heat events significantly stress all organisms in the ecosystem, and are likely to be amplified in peri-urban and urban areas. Understanding the variability and drivers behind these events is key to generating early warnings, yet in Equatorial East Africa, this information is currently unavailable. This study uses daily maximum and minimum temperature records from weather stations within Nairobi and its surroundings to characterize variability in daily minimum temperatures and the number of extreme heat events. ERA-Interim reanalysis is applied to assess the drivers of these events at event and seasonal time scales. At seasonal time scales, high temperatures in Nairobi are a function of large scale climate variability associated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) and Global Mean Sea Surface Temperature (GMSST). Extreme heat events, however, are more strongly associated with the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). For instance, the persistence of AMO and ENSO, in particular, provide a basis for seasonal prediction of extreme heat events/days in Nairobi. It is also apparent that the temporal signal from extreme heat events in tropics differs from classic heat wave definitions developed in the mid-latitudes, which suggests that a new approach for defining these events is necessary for tropical regions.

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