, Volume 22, Issue 2-3, pp 123-138
Date: 19 Dec 2003

How do La Niña events disturb the summer monsoon system in Brazil?

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Abstract

The rainy season in most of Brazil is associated with the summer monsoon regime in South America. The quality of this season is important because it rains little during the rest of the year over most of the country. In this study, the influence of La Niña events on the summer monsoon circulation, rainfall and temperature is analyzed with seasonal and monthly resolution, using data from a dense network of stations, giving a comprehensive view of the impact of these events. The expected precipitation percentiles during the monsoon season of La Niña events are calculated, as well as anomalies of surface temperature and thermodynamic parameters. This information is analyzed jointly with anomaly composites of several circulation parameters. The analysis shows that some anomalies, which are consistent and important during part of the season, are smoothed out in a seasonal analysis. There are abrupt changes of anomalies within the summer monsoon season, suggesting the prevalence of regional processes over remote influences during part of the season. In spring there are positive precipitation anomalies in north and central-east Brazil and negative ones in south Brazil. These precipitation anomalies are favored by the perturbation in the Walker and Hadley circulation over the eastern Pacific and South America, and by perturbations in the rotational circulation over southern South America. Northerly moisture inflow from the Atlantic into northern South America is emphasized and diverted towards the mouth of the Amazon by the low-level cyclonic anomaly north of the equator. In December and January, probably triggered by anomalous surface cooling during the spring, there is an anomalous low-level divergence and an anticyclonic anomaly over southeast Brazil. This anomalous circulation directs moisture flux towards south Brazil, causing moisture convergence in part of this region and part of central-west Brazil. The thermodynamic structure in central-east Brazil does not favor precipitation over this region, and the wet anomalies in north Brazil are displaced northward. The dry anomalies in south Brazil almost disappear and even turn positive. In February, after the strongly below normal precipitation of January, the surface temperature anomalies turn positive over southeast Brazil. The low-level anticyclonic anomaly is much weaker than in January. There are positive rainfall anomalies in north Brazil and in the South Atlantic Convergence Zone, and negative ones return to south Brazil.