A Lagrangian Perspective of the Hydrological Cycle in the Congo River Basin
Published: 09 March 2017 by Copernicus GmbH in Earth System Dynamics Discussions
Copernicus GmbH, 10.5194/esd-2017-21
Abstract: The Lagrangian model FLEXPART was used to identify the moisture sources of the Congo River Basin (CRB) and investigate their role in the hydrological cycle. This model allows us to track atmospheric parcels while calculating changes in the specific humidity through the budget of evaporation-minus-precipitation. The method permitted the identification at an annual scale of five continental and four oceanic regions that provide moisture to the CRB from both hemispheres over the course of the year. The most important is the CRB itself, providing more than 50% of the total atmospheric moisture income to the basin. Apart from this, both the land extension to the east of the CRB together with the ocean located in the eastern equatorial South Atlantic Ocean are also very important sources, while the Red Sea source is merely important in the budget of (E − P) over the CRB, despite its high evaporation rate. The moisture sink patterns over the CRB in air masses tracked forwards from all the sources follow a latitudinal rainfall migration and are mostly highly correlated with the pattern of precipitation rate, ensuring a link between them. The analysis of the wet and dry periods in the CRB confirms the key role of the basin in modulating the fresh water balance within the basin itself.
Keywords: rainfall, model, river, sources, Budget, Congo, Lagrangian, CRB, basin, Hydrological