Cross–Time Scale Interactions and Rainfall Extreme Events in Southeastern South America for the Austral Summer. Part I: Potential Predictors

Muñoz, Ángel G.; Goddard, Lisa M.; Robertson, Andrew W.; Kushnir, Yochanan; Baethgen, Walter E.

The physical mechanisms and predictability associated with extreme daily rainfall in southeastern South America (SESA) are investigated for the December–February season in a two-part study. Through a k-mean analysis, this first paper identifies a robust set of daily circulation regimes that are used to link the frequency of rainfall extreme events with large-scale potential predictors at subseasonal-to-seasonal scales. This represents a basic set of daily circulation regimes related to the continental and oceanic phases of the South Atlantic convergence zone (SACZ) and wave train patterns superimposed on the Southern Hemisphere polar jet. Some of these recurrent synoptic circulation types are conducive to extreme rainfall events in the region through synoptic control of different mesoscale physical features and, at the same time, are influenced by climate phenomena that could be used as sources of potential predictability. Extremely high rainfall (as measured by the 95th and 99th percentiles) is associated with two of these weather types (WTs), which are characterized by moisture advection intrusions from lower latitudes and the Pacific Ocean; another three WTs, characterized by above-normal moisture advection toward lower latitudes or the Andes, are associated with dry days (days with no rain). The analysis permits the identification of several subseasonal-to-seasonal scale potential predictors that modulate the occurrence of circulation regimes conducive to extreme rainfall events in SESA. It is conjectured that a cross–time scale interaction between the different climate drivers improves the predictive skill of extreme precipitation in the region.

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Journal of Climate

More About This Work

Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Meteorological Society
Published Here
March 29, 2016