Elisabeth A. Arnold


Presentation: 9:00-10:15, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Precipitation in East Africa varies throughout the region, which is especially vulnerable to climate change due to its dependence on predictable precipitation for subsistence agriculture. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the changing seasonal and monthly patterns of rainfall in East Africa and their relation to ENSO and IOD using high resolution MSWEP data from 1980-2021. Northwestern and Southern East Africa experience one rainy season while equatorial East Africa experiences two rainy seasons. In most of the region with two rainy seasons, the first rainy season is longer with more precipitation and the second rainy season is shorter with less precipitation. Trends over time indicate that the long rains are getting shorter and bringing less rainfall, and that the short rains are increasing in duration and precipitation amount. The reduction in the long rains is greater than the increase in the short rains, and therefore the region is overall experiencing a reduction in precipitation. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are climate patterns which impact worldwide precipitation, including East Africa. Monthly average precipitation throughout East Africa is influenced by the ENSO and IOD. The effect on mean monthly precipitation varies spatially.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Shuang-Ye Wu

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals

Practical Wisdom; Critical Evaluation of Our Times; Diversity

Rainfall Patterns in East Africa: Implications of ENSO and IOD on Precipitation Variability