skip to main content


Title: Empirical–Statistical Downscaling of Austral Summer Precipitation over South America, with a Focus on the Central Peruvian Andes and the Equatorial Amazon Basin
Abstract Precipitation is one of the most difficult variables to estimate using large-scale predictors. Over South America (SA), this task is even more challenging, given the complex topography of the Andes. Empirical–statistical downscaling (ESD) models can be used for this purpose, but such models, applicable for all of SA, have not yet been developed. To address this issue, we construct an ESD model using multiple-linear-regression techniques for the period 1982–2016 that is based on large-scale circulation indices representing tropical Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and South American climate variability, to estimate austral summer [December–February (DJF)] precipitation over SA. Statistical analyses show that the ESD model can reproduce observed precipitation anomalies over the tropical Andes (Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia), the eastern equatorial Amazon basin, and the central part of the western Argentinian Andes. On a smaller scale, the ESD model also shows good results over the Western Cordillera of the Peruvian Andes. The ESD model reproduces anomalously dry conditions over the eastern equatorial Amazon and the wet conditions over southeastern South America (SESA) during the three extreme El Niños: 1982/83, 1997/98, and 2015/16. However, it overestimates the observed intensities over SESA. For the central Peruvian Andes as a case study, results further show that the ESD model can correctly reproduce DJF precipitation anomalies over the entire Mantaro basin during the three extreme El Niño episodes. Moreover, multiple experiments with varying predictor combinations of the ESD model corroborate the hypothesis that the interaction between the South Atlantic convergence zone and the equatorial Atlantic Ocean provoked the Amazon drought in 2015/16.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1702439 1743738
NSF-PAR ID:
10212654
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Volume:
60
Issue:
1
ISSN:
1558-8424
Page Range / eLocation ID:
65 to 85
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract South American climate is influenced by both Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) and Pacific multidecadal variability (PMV). But how they jointly affect South American precipitation and surface air temperature is not well understood. Here we analyze composite anomalies to quantify their combined impacts using observations and reanalysis data. During an AMV warm (cold) phase, PMV-induced JJA precipitation anomalies are more positive (negative) over 0°-10°S and southeastern South America, but more negative (positive) over the northern Amazon and central Brazil. PMV-induced precipitation anomalies in DJF are more positive (negative) over Northeast Brazil and southeastern South America during the warm (cold) AMV phase, but more negative (positive) over the central Amazon Basin and central-eastern Brazil. PMV’s impact on AMV-induced precipitation anomalies shows similar dipole patterns. The precipitation changes result from perturbations of the local Hadley and Walker Circulations. In JJA, PMV- and AMV-induced temperature anomalies are more positive (negative) over entire South America when the other basin is in a warm (cold) phase, but in DJF temperature anomalies are more positive (negative) only over the central Andes and central-eastern Brazil and more negative (positive) over southeastern South America and Patagonia. Over central Brazil in JJA and southern Bolivia and northern Argentina in DJF, the temperature and precipitation anomalies are negatively correlated. Our results show that the influence of Pacific and Atlantic multidecadal variability need to be considered jointly, as significant departures from the mean AMV or PMV fingerprint can occur during a cold or warm phase of the other basin’s mode. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Land‐atmosphere interactions are critical for precipitation (PPT) over South America where terrestrial evapotranspiration (ET) constitutes a significant fraction of moisture for rainfall over the ecologically and socio‐economically vital Amazon (AMZ) and La Plata (LPB) river basins. We quantify the contribution of ET from AMZ and LPB to PPT over the continent with a focus on the intraseasonal time scale. Using numerical water tracers embedded in the Weather Research and Forecasting model we track the moisture originating from the two basins. Our findings indicate that approximately 40% of annual rainfall over the eastern foothills of the Andes originates as AMZ ET, and nearly 30% of rainfall over northern Argentina originates as LPB ET. Analysis of moisture transport during both phases of the dominant intraseasonal oscillation pattern over South America reveals an intraseasonal “sloshing” of LPB moisture between the South Atlantic convergence zone (SACZ) and southeastern South America (SESA) regions. AMZ and LPB each supply approximately 6% of moisture for SACZ PPT during periods of intraseasonal enhancement (positive anomalies), highlighting the importance of moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. For the SESA region, LPB supplies 26% of the moisture for PPT during periods of intraseasonal enhancement while AMZ supplies 5%.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    During boreal winter (December–February), the South American monsoon system (SAMS) reaches its annual maximum when upper‐tropospheric westerly winds prevail over the equatorial Atlantic. Atmospheric dynamic model simulations suggest that Rossby waves generated over South America can propagate to and potentially influence weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). However, observational evidence has been absent previously. Here we focus on southeastern South American (SESA) precipitation anomalies, which can characterize intraseasonal rainfall variability of the SAMS. Since tropical “westerly duct” and convective heating are important factors for cross‐equatorial propagation of Rossby wave (CEPRW), we identify two groups of events based on the two factors. By comparing the events associated with both SESA rainfall and tropical westerlies to the events associated with tropical westerlies only, we find that an anomalous Rossby wave train is triggered by precipitation anomalies over SESA, propagates in the southwest–northeast direction, and subsequently crosses the equator. Over a period of 4 days, near‐surface temperature over northwestern Africa and western Europe becomes warmer, accompanied by increased surface downward longwave radiation and precipitable water. The equatorward propagating Eliassen–Palm flux anomalies originated from SESA support the evidence of CEPRW. Simulations using a time‐dependent linear barotropic model forced by prescribed divergence anomalies over SESA further confirm that SESA rainfall can influence the NH weather patterns through CEPRW. Knowledge of this study will help us better understand and model interhemispheric teleconnections over the American–Atlantic–African/European sector.

     
    more » « less
  4. The impacts of the interdecadal variability of the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans on precipitation over the Central Andes during the austral summer (December-January-February, DJF) are investigated for the 1921–2010 period based on monthly gridded precipitation data and low-pass filtered time series of the Niño 4 index (IN4), the Niño 1 + 2 index with Niño 3.4 index removed (IN1+2 * ), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) indices, and the three first rotated principal components of the interdecadal component of the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the Atlantic Ocean. A rotated empirical orthogonal function (REOF) analysis of precipitation in the Central Andes (10°S–30°S) yields two leading modes, RPC1 and RPC2, which represent 40.4% and 18.6% of the total variance, respectively. REOF1 features a precipitation dipole between the northern Bolivian and the Chilean Altiplano. REOF2 also features a precipitation dipole, with highest negative loading over the southern Peruvian Andes. The REOF1 positive phase is associated with moisture transport from the lowlands toward the Bolivian Altiplano, induced by upper-level easterly wind anomalies over the Central Andes. At the same time conditions tend to be dry over the southern Peruvian Andes. The positive phase of REOF2 is related to weakened moisture transport, induced by upper-level westerly wind anomalies over Peru. The IPO warm phase induces significant dry anomalies over the Bolivian Altiplano, albeit weaker than during the IN4 warm phase, via upper-level westerly wind anomalies over the Central Andes. No significant relationship was found between Central Andean precipitation and the AMO on interdecadal timescales. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Atlantic Niño is the Atlantic equivalent of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and it has prominent impacts on regional and global climate. Existing studies suggest that the Atlantic Niño may arise from local atmosphere-ocean interaction and is sometimes triggered by the Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM), with overall weak ENSO contribution. By analyzing observational datasets and performing numerical model experiments, here we show that the Atlantic Niño can be induced by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). We find that the enhanced rainfall in the western tropical Indian Ocean during positive IOD weakens the easterly trade winds over the tropical Atlantic, causing warm anomalies in the central and eastern equatorial Atlantic basin and therefore triggering the Atlantic Niño. Our finding suggests that the cross-basin impact from the tropical Indian Ocean plays a more important role in affecting interannual climate variability than previously thought.

     
    more » « less