The characteristics of cold air outbreaks over the Eastern Highlands of Kenya
Okoola, Raphael E
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Climatological statistics of extreme temperature events over Kenya are established from the analysis of daily and monthly maximum temperatures for a representative station (Nairobi Dagoretti Corner) over the period 1956–1997. The months of June to August were shown to be the coldest with a mean monthly maximum temperature of less than 22 °C. Seasonal (June to August) mean maximum temperature was 21.5 °C. Using this seasonal mean temperature for the period 1967–1997 delineated 1968 as the coldest year in this series and 1983 as the warmest year. Spectral analysis of the seasonal data, for both the coldest and the warmest years, revealed that the major periods were the quasi-biweekly (10 days) and the Intraseasonal Oscillations (23 days). Secondary peaks occurred at periods of 4–6 and 2.5–3.5 days. A temperature threshold of 16.7 °C during July was used to define cold air outbreaks over Nairobi. This threshold temperature of 16.7 °C was obtained from the mean July maximum temperature (20.9 °C) minus two standard deviations. Notable trends include a decrease in the frequency of station-days, between 1956 and 1997, with temperatures less than 16.7 °C during July. Surface pressure patterns indicate that the origin of the cold air is near latitude 25° S and to the east of mainland South Africa. The cold air near 25° S is advected northwards ahead of the surface pressure ridge.