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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-223
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 May 2018

Research article | 02 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

The climate of desiccation in the SW Cape

Mark R. Jury Mark R. Jury
  • 1University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa
  • 2Physics Dept, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, USA

Abstract. Hydro-meteorology conditions in the Southwest Cape of South Africa are analyzed for historical trends in satellite and station measurements. Results show an increase of coastal upwelling, low-level subsidence and shorter winters. The shearing by offshore easterly winds causes a circulation over the SW Cape which entrains dry air from the south coast upwelling zone. Potential evaporation exceeds precipitation and streamflow discharge has declined particularly northwest of the Hottentots Holland mountains. Many of Cape Town's water reservoirs are drying up, and show steep in-creases in surface temperature (+.2C/yr) and browning of perimeter vegetation. The unfavorable wind shear is compounded by negative sensible heat flux and a capping inversion, so alongshore winds and mountain-top clouds divert seaward, desiccating the upper Berg River catchment.

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Short summary
The climatic processes underlying drought in the SW Cape of South Africa are outlined. The area lies at the transition between the mid-latitude and sub-tropical regimes (34 S). There has been a gradual shift towards increased easterlies, longer dry summers and shorter wet winters. Consequently, water resources near Cape Town are drying up. High-resolution satellite reanalysis of land surface temperature and rainfall reveal the desiccating trends.
The climatic processes underlying drought in the SW Cape of South Africa are outlined. The area...
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