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West African and French researchers have banded together to create a new research programme to unravel the complexities of the West African monsoon.

The African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) programme will use data from a network of measuring stations to assess the climatic impact of rising sub-tropical sea temperatures and extensive deforestation in the region during the past 50 years.

It also aims to determine the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, and improve understanding of rainfall and climate systems in West Africa, which in the past 40 years has experienced severe drought.

The decision to create the programme was taken at a meeting of more than 80 African and European scientists at Niamey, Niger from 25 February to 3 March.

African support for the initiative comes from the African Centre for Meteorological Applications to Development (ACMAD) and the Niger-based AGRHYMET centre, among others.

AMMA is also backed by the French organisations Météo-France, the National Space Studies Centre (CNES), the National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD).

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