NDVI anomaly patterns over Africa during the 1997/98 ENSO warm event

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Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) departure patterns for Africa during the 1997/98 El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) warm event show two dominant patterns. Over equatorial Eastern Africa, above normal NDVI anomalies persisted from October 1997 through the normal dry season (December-February) and into the long rains season in March-May. Over Southern Africa the spatial NDVI anomaly shows a dry western half and a relatively greener than normal eastern half. Correlations between the temporal NDVI anomalies with ENSO indices shows that the anomalous conditions over Eastern Africa were a direct result of anomalous warming of sea surface temperatures (~+3°C) in the western equatorial Indian Ocean (WIO) and a lagged response to the warming in the eastern Pacific Ocean (+4°C). We suggest that this anomalous warming of the WIO and the equatorial eastern Atlantic Ocean basin dampened the normal severe drought response pattern over Southern Africa where mild drought conditions were experienced. The overall continental response pattern shows a meridional dipole pattern, with above normal NDVI straddling the equator between 10° N and 10° S and normal to slightly below normal NDVI south of 15° S, predominantly over south-western Africa.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01431160010029156

Publication date: July 10, 2001

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