, Volume 36, Issue 9-10, pp 1865-1880,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 14 Apr 2010

Moisture transport and intraseasonal variability in the South America monsoon system


This paper examines moisture transport on intraseasonal timescales over the continent and over the South Atlantic convergence zone (SACZ) during the South America (SA) summer monsoon. Combined Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis (EOFc) of Global Precipitation Climatology Project pentad precipitation, specific humidity, air temperature, zonal and meridional winds at 850 hPa (NCEP/NCAR reanalysis) are performed to identify the large-scale variability of the South America monsoon system and the SACZ. The first EOFc was used as a large-scale index for the South American monsoon (LISAM), whereas the second EOFc characterized the SACZ. LISAM (SACZ) index showed spectral variance on 30–90 (15–20) days and were both band filtered (10–100 days). Intraseasonal wet anomalies were defined when LISAM and SACZ anomalies were above the 75th percentile of their respective distribution. LISAM and SACZ wet events were examined independently of each other and when they occur simultaneously. LISAM wet events were observed with the amplification of wave activity in the Northern Hemisphere and the enhancement of northwesterly cross-equatorial moisture transport over tropical continental SA. Enhanced SACZ was observed with moisture transport from the extratropics of the Southern Hemisphere. Simultaneous LISAM and SACZ wet events are associated with cross-equatorial moisture transport along with moisture transport from Subtropical Southwestern Atlantic.