CR 69:229-238 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01409

Linkages between snow cover, temperature and rainfall and the North Atlantic Oscillation over Morocco

A. Marchane1,*, L. Jarlan2, A. Boudhar3, Y. Tramblay4, L. Hanich1

1Laboratoire de Géoressources - Unité associée au CNRST (URAC42), Département des Sciences de la Terre, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Cadi Ayyad, Av. A. Khattabi, BP 549, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco 2IRD, Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère, Bpi 2801, 18 avenue Edouard Belin, 31401 Toulouse Cedex 9, France 3Université Sultan Moulay Slimane, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, B.P. 523, Béni-Mellal, Morocco
4IRD, Hydrosciences Montpellier, 34090 Montpellier, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Snowpack significantly contributes to water resources in North Africa. The objective of this work was to analyze the impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on rainfall and temperature in Morocco at a sub-seasonal scale and to evaluate, for the first time, linkages between the NAO and snow cover area (SCA) derived from remote sensing observations. For this purpose, we analyzed daily SCA products (2000-2013) from the MODIS sensor, meteorological data from 37 stations (1993-2011), NCEP re-analysis of surface air temperature and rainfall rate, and a monthly NAO index. The linear linkages sought using simple correlation analysis demonstrated that negative (positive) NAO (1) is associated with enhanced (reduced) rainfall in December and February for the northern part of the country; (2) occurs with above-normal (below-normal) temperature and, in contrast with rainfall, the correlation persists far inland and late in the season. These results highlight a possible competing influence of NAO on the snowpack dynamic through rainfall and temperature. Indeed, negative (positive) NAO tends to favor earlier (later) melting and lesser (greater) SCA in spring (April-May) through milder temperatures. Results have direct implications for seasonal forecast of SCA in Morocco.


KEY WORDS: Snow cover · MODIS · NAO · Semi-arid · Mediterranean areas


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Cite this article as: Marchane A, Jarlan L, Boudhar A, Tramblay Y, Hanich L (2016) Linkages between snow cover, temperature and rainfall and the North Atlantic Oscillation over Morocco. Clim Res 69:229-238. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01409

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