Friday, April 13, 2012


cc: Nick Brooks <>, "Thomas C Peterson" <>, Richard Thigpen <>, <>
date: Tue May 3 13:13:04 2005
from: Phil Jones <>
subject: Western Sahara
to: "Hans Teunissen" <>

I told Nick Brooks who works here at UEA that I would forward his email
to someone. You'll need to read his email to see the idea and I'll elaborate
on the potential problems. The major problem is that the 'country' isn't one
in the strictest sense. It is a UN protectorate of sorts. There are all sorts of issues
of stepping on toes - Morroco for a start. Apparently you can get to the 'country'
through Mauritania as well as Algeria. Being a UN agency you may be able to find
out what the problems might be.
As there are very little or no data, there are no GCOS sites. There is probably
nothing we can do, but maybe someone will have some bright idea.

From: Nick Brooks <>
Subject: Re: Western Sahara Project enquiry
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 11:39:57 +0100
To: Phil Jones <>
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.619.2)
Dear Phil
Thanks for forwarding this to me; I'll get back to the person in question.
I've been meaning to contact you about Western Sahara in any case. On my last trip there
in March this year I was struck by how green it was. According to Stefan Kroepelin, who
came with me, the vegetation where we were, between about 20 and 25 degrees N, was
equivalent to that beginning at 16 degrees N in the eastern Sahara. The locals talk
about rain and drought, and apparently every couple of years they get the tail end of
the summer monsoon rains. The also get some winter rain, presumably associated with the
Atlantic westerlies that water Morocco. All the climatological charts show Western
Sahara as hyper arid, much like the central Sahara at the same latitudes. This is
probably not surprising, given that there are no data for the region, except for one met
station on the coast where coastal upwelling is associated with subsidence. So I suspect
that our understanding of the rainfall and climate of this part of northern Africa needs
to be revised.
I know CRU are not in the business of setting up met stations, but thought perhaps you
knew people in the Met Office who might be interested in this. I work in what is known
locally as the "free zone", which is the part not occupied my Morocco (most of the
country is). I have excellent relations with the Polisario, who run this part of Western
Sahara from Algeria, and it would be no problem to set up some observing stations from
the point of view of bureaucracy - all we need are the resources, some expertise, and
equipment that can be left to its own devices for long periods. I don't know how much
this would cost though.
Feel free to forward this to the relevant people if you think it might be worth
pursuing. I think this would be a worthwhile exercise in the name of better
observational data from Africa, and this almost never-visited region might yield some
interesting results regarding monsoon sensitivity and oscillation of the monsoon limit.
All the best
Dr Nick Brooks
Senior Research Associate, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Assistant Director, UEA Saharan Studies Programme
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ
Tel: +44 1603 593904
Fax: +44 1603 593901
Tyndall website: [1]
Saharan Studies Programme: [2]
Personal website: [3]

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

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