Advertisement

Climate Dynamics

, Volume 45, Issue 3–4, pp 915–932 | Cite as

Interannual and intra-annual variability of rainfall in Haiti (1905–2005)

  • Vincent Moron
  • Romain Frelat
  • Pierre Karly Jean-Jeune
  • Cédric Gaucherel
Article

Abstract

The interannual variability of annual and monthly rainfall in Haiti is examined from a database of 78 rain gauges in 1905–2005. The spatial coherence of annual rainfall is rather low, which is partly due to Haiti’s rugged landscape, complex shoreline, and surrounding warm waters (mean sea surface temperatures >27 °C from May to December). The interannual variation of monthly rainfall is mostly shaped by the intensity of the low-level winds across the Caribbean Sea, leading to a drier- (or wetter-) than-average rainy season associated with easterly (or westerly) anomalies, increasing (or decreasing) winds. The varying speed of low-level easterlies across the Caribbean basin may reflect at least four different processes during the year: (1) an anomalous trough/ridge over the western edge of the Azores high from December to February, peaking in January; (2) a zonal pressure gradient between Eastern Pacific and the tropical Northern Atlantic from May/June to September, with a peak in August (i.e. lower-than-average rainfall in Haiti is associated with positive sea level pressure anomalies over the tropical North Atlantic and negative sea level pressure anomalies over the Eastern Pacific); (3) a local ocean–atmosphere coupling between the speed of the Caribbean Low Level Jet and the meridional sea surface temperature (SST) gradient across the Caribbean basin (i.e. colder-than-average SST in the southern Caribbean sea is associated with increased easterlies and below-average rainfall in Haiti). This coupling is triggered when the warmest Caribbean waters move northward toward the Gulf of Mexico; (4) in October/November, a drier- (or wetter-) than-usual rainy season is related to an almost closed anticyclonic (or cyclonic) anomaly located ENE of Haiti on the SW edge of the Azores high. This suggests a main control of the interannual variations of rainfall by intensity, track and/or recurrence of tropical depressions traveling northeast of Haiti. During this period, the teleconnection of Haitian rainfall with synchronous Atlantic and Eastern Pacific SST is at a minimum.

Keywords

Haiti Caribbean basin Rainfall variability Precipitation regime Ocean–atmosphere coupling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was partly funded by the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) and in close collaboration with the Haitian Comité inter-ministériel de l’Aménagement du Territoire (CIAT). We warmly thank the Centre National de l’Information Géo‐Spatiale (CNIGS), the Chemonics company, and the Coordination Nationale pour la Sécurité Alimentaire (CNSA) for having provided the rainfall data. Data from the twentieth century reanalyses and from the ERSST dataset have been freely downloaded from http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/20thC_Rean/. Support for the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project dataset is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (DOE INCITE) program, and Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office. Lastly, We warmly thank Mea Halperin (IRI, Columbia University) for her proofreading and corrections to our text.

References

  1. Adams DK, Comrie A (1997) The North American monsoon. Bull Am Meteo Soc 78:2197–2213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alpert L (1941) The areal distribution of mean annual rainfall over the island of Hispaniola. Mon Wea Rev 69:201–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angeles ME, Gonzalez JE, Ramirez-Beltran ND, Tepley CA, Comarazamy DE (2010) Origins of the Caribbean rainfall bimodal behavior. J Geophys Res. doi: 10.1029/2009JD012990 Google Scholar
  4. Ashby SA, Taylor MA, Chen AA (2005) Statistical models for predicting rainfall in the Caribbean. Theor App Climatol 82:65–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnston AG, Li S, Mason SJ, DeWitt DG, Goddard L, Gong X (2010) Verification of the first 11 years of IRI’s seasonal climate forecasts. J Clim Appl Meteo 49:493–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen AA, Taylor MA (2002) Investigating the link between early season Caribbean rainfall and the El Nino + 1 year. Int J Climatol 22:87–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Compo GP, Whitaker JS, Sardeshmukh PD, Matsui N, Allan RJ, Yin X, Gleason BE, Vose RS, Rutledge G, Bessemoulin P, Brönnimann S, Brunet M, Crouthamel RI, Grant AN, Groisman PY, Jones PD, Kruk MC, Kruger AC, Marshall GJ, Maugeri M, Mok HY, Nordli O, Ross TF, Trigo RM, Wang XL, Woodruff SD, Worley SJ (2011) The twentieth century reanalysis project. Quart J Meteo Soc 137:1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Curtis S, Gamble W (2008) Regional variations of the Caribbean mid-summer-drought. Theor Appl Climatol 94:25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daly C, Helmer EH, Quinones M (2003) Mapping the climate of Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra. Int J Climatol 23:1359–1381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Enfield DB, Alfaro EJ (1999) The dependence of Caribbean rainfall on the interaction of the Tropical Atlantic and Pacific oceans. J Clim 12:2093–2103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fassig OL (1929) A tentative chart of annual rainfall over the island of Haiti-San Domingo. Mon Wea Rev 57:296Google Scholar
  12. Gamble DW, Curtis S (2008) Caribbean precipitation: review, model and prospect. Progress Phys Geog 32:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gaucherel C (2002) Use of wavelet transform for temporal characteristisation of remote watersheds. J Hydrol 269:101–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Giannini A, Kushnir Y, Cane MA (2000) Interannual variability of Caribbean rainfall, ENSO, and the Atlantic Ocean. J Clim 13:297–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giannini A, Kushnir Y, Cane MA (2001) Seasonality in the impact of ENSO and the north Atlantic high on Caribbean rainfall. Phys Chem Earth 26:143–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gouirand I, Moron V, Hu ZZ, Jha B (2014) Influence of the warm pool and cold tongue El Ninos on the following Caribbean rainy season rainfall. Clim Dyn 42:919–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grinsted A, Moore JC, Jevrejeva S (2004) Application of the cross-wavelet transform and wavelet coherence to geophysical time series. Nonlin Proc Geophys 11:561–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Inoue M, Handoh IC, Bigg GR (2002) Bimodal distribution of tropical cyclogenesis in the Caribbean: characteristics and environmental factors. J Clim 15:2897–2905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Janicot S, Fontaine B, Moron V (1996) Sahel droughts and ENSO dynamics. Geophys Res Lett 23:515–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jury MR (2009a) An intercomparison of observational, reanalysis, satellite and couple model data on mean rainfall in the Caribbean. J. Hydrometeor 10:413–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jury MR (2009b) A quasi-decadal cycle in Caribbean climate. J Geophy Res 114:D13102. doi: 10.1029/2009JD011741 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jury MR, Gouirand I (2011) Decadal climate variability in the eastern Caribbean. J Geophys Res 116:D000Q03Google Scholar
  23. Jury MR, Malmgren BA, Winter A (2007) Subregional precipitation climate of the Caribbean and relationships with ENSO and NAO. J Geophys Res 112:D16Google Scholar
  24. Kaplan A, Cane MA, Kushnir Y, Clement AC, Blumenthal MB, Rajagopalan B (1998) Analyses of global sea surface temperatures 1856–1991. J Geophys Res 103:18567–18589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Magana V, Amador JA, Medina S (1999) The midsummer drought over Mexico and central America. J Clim 12:1577–1588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Malmgren BA, Winter A, Chen D (1998) El Nino-Southern Oscilation and North Atlantic oscillation control of climate in Puerto Rico. J Clim 11:2713–2717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Martis A, van Oldenborgh GJ, Burgers G (2002) Predicting rainfall in the dutch Caribbean—more than El Nino? Int J Climatol 22:1219–1234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Michelangeli PA, Vautard R, Legras B (1995) Weather regimes: recurrence and quasi-stationarity. J Atmos Sci 52:1237–1250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Peterson TC, Taylor MA, Demeritte R, Duncombe D, Burton S, Thompson S, Porter A, Mercedes M, Villegas E, Semextant Fils R, Tank AK, Martis A, Warner R, Joyette A, Mills W, Alexander L, Gleason B (2002) Recent changes in climate extremes in the Caribbean region. J Geophys Res 107:4601. doi: 10.1029/2002JD002251 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Qian JH, Robertson AW, Moron V (2010) Interactions among ENSO, the monsoon and diurnal cycle in rainfall variability over Java, Indonesia. J Atmos Sci 67:3509–3524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Richman MB (1986) Rotation of principal components. J Climatol 6:293–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rogers JC (1988) Precipitation variability over the Caribbean and Tropical Americas associated with the southern oscillation. J Clim 1:172–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rowell DP (1998) Assessing potential seasonal predictability with an ensemble of multidecadal GCM simulations. J Clim 11:109–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Spence JM, Taylor MA, Chen AA (2004) The effect of concurrent sea-surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic on Caribbean rainfall. Int J Climatol 24:1531–1541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stephenson TS, Chen AA, Taylor MA (2008) Toward the development of prediction models for the primary Caribbean dry season. Theor Appl Climatol 92:87–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Taylor MA, Enfield DB, Chen AA (2002) Influence of the tropical Atlantic versus the tropical Pacific on Caribbean rainfall. J Geophys Res 107:3127. doi: 10.1029/2001JC001097 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Taylor MA, Stephenson TS, Owino A, Chen A, Campbell D (2011) Tropical gradient influences on the Caribbean rainfall. J Geophys Res 116:D00Q08. doi: 10.1029/2010JD015580
  38. Wang C (2007) Variability of the Caribbean low-level jet and its relations to climate. Clim Dyn 29:411–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang C, Lee S-K (2007) Atlantic warm pool, Caribbean low-level jet and their potential impact on Atlantic hurricanes. Geophys Res Letters 34:L02703. doi: 10.1029/006GLO28579 Google Scholar
  40. Wang C, Enfield DB, Lee S-K, Landsea C (2006) Influences of the Atlantic warm pool on Western Hemisphere summer rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. J Clim 19:3011–3028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Whyte FS, Taylor MA, Stephenson TS, Campbell JD (2008) Features of the Caribbean low level jet. Int J Climatol 28:119–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Moron
    • 1
    • 2
  • Romain Frelat
    • 4
  • Pierre Karly Jean-Jeune
    • 3
  • Cédric Gaucherel
    • 4
  1. 1.CEREGE UM 34 CNRSAix-Marseille UniversitéAix en ProvenceFrance
  2. 2.IRIColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR)Ministry of AgriculturePort-au-PrinceHaiti
  4. 4.French Institute of PondicherryIFP-CNRSPondicherryIndia

Personalised recommendations