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Influence of topography on rainfall variability in Santiago Island, Cape Verde

Authors

  • Juan Francisco Sanchez-Moreno,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Department of Earth System Analysis, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: J. F. Sanchez-Moreno, Department of Earth System Analysis, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands. E-mail: sanchez@itc.nl

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  • Chris M. Mannaerts,

    1. Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Department of Water Resources, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands
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  • Victor Jetten

    1. Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Department of Earth System Analysis, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands
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ABSTRACT

Cape Verde is a semi-arid country conformed by a group of islands located off the west coast of Africa, with highly variable rainfall that appears during a single rainy season. Santiago Island, the biggest of the country, is characterized for abrupt changes of relief within small distances. The influence of geographic location and topographic parameters, such as slope gradient, exposition and elevation on the variability of rainfall in Santiago Island was studied using monthly rainfall data of 30 seasons (1981 to 2010), with daily rainfall data for 14 seasons (1997 to 2010). The number of rainfall days and the percentage of maximum daily rainfall within the monthly and seasonal totals were evaluated. Few rainy days can control the monthly and seasonal rainfall patterns of Santiago Island. Multivariate linear regressions among daily, monthly and seasonal rainfall and elevation, slope gradient, aspect, and geographic east and west coordinates as predictors were carried out. Elevation explains most of the variance in the rainfall. The coefficients of determination show an inverse relationship with the rainfall depth: moderate rainfall totals (120–150 mm monthly, 250–300 mm seasonal) produced the best correlations for seasonal and monthly rainfall, while very low (<50 mm for monthly, <200 mm for seasonal) and very high amounts (>250 mm for monthly, >350 mm for seasonal) resulted in poor correlations. Long-term mean rainfall was interpolated using ordinary kriging and kriging with external drift. In Santiago Island, high and more extreme rainfall events are less influenced by elevation, while low and medium rainfall events are significantly influenced by orography, with most of the rainfall appearing on high elevations. Copyright © 2013 Royal Meteorological Society

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