The impacts of climate variations on military operations in the Horn of Africa
LaJoie, Mark R.
Pfeiffer, Karl D.
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Department of Defense (DoD) climatology products rely mainly on long term means (LTMs) of climate system variables. In this project, we have demonstrated that climatologies based on LTMs can be substantially improved using modern data and methods, especially by accounting for climate variations. We analyzed, and identified mechanisms for, enhanced (suppressed) autumn precipitation in the Horn of Africa (HOA) during El Nino (La Nina) events. El Nino (La Nina) precipitation anomalies were associated with anomalously warm (cool) western Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures, and with anomalously onshore (offshore) moisture transports in the HOA. These transport anomalies supported anomalously strong (weak) precipitation over the HOA. To improve climatological support for DoD operations, we developed and tested a six-step smart climatology process. We applied this process in the context of a notional, unclassified non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) set in the HOA during autumn of an El Nino year. Using this process, we translated our scientific and operational findings into warfighter impacts. The smart climatology process we have developed is readily adaptable to other regions, seasons, climate variations, and military operations. We have provided a detailed description of our smart climatology process to facilitate its use by DoD agencies.
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