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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 1–2, pp 371–382 | Cite as

Temporal evolution of the spatial covariability of rainfall in South America

  • Catrin CiemerEmail author
  • Niklas Boers
  • Henrique M. J. Barbosa
  • Jürgen Kurths
  • Anja Rammig
Article

Abstract

The climate of South America exhibits pronounced differences between rainy and dry seasons, associated with specific synoptic features such as the establishment of the South Atlantic convergence zone. Here, we analyze the spatiotemporal correlation structure and in particular teleconnections of daily rainfall associated with these features by means of evolving complex networks. A modification of Pearson’s correlation coefficient is introduced to handle the intricate statistical properties of daily rainfall. On this basis, spatial correlation networks are constructed, and new appropriate network measures are introduced in order to analyze the temporal evolution of the networks’ characteristics. We particularly focus on the identification of coherent areas of similar rainfall patterns and previously unknown teleconnection structures between remote areas. We show that the monsoon onset is characterized by an abrupt transition from erratic to organized regional connectivity that prevails during the monsoon season, while only the onset times themselves exhibit anomalous large-scale organization of teleconnections. Furthermore, we reveal that the two mega-droughts in the Amazon basin were already announced in the previous year by an anomalous behavior of the connectivity structure.

Keywords

South American monsoon Complex networks Rainfall Teleconnections Correlation measures 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Tim Kittel, Jose A. Marengo and Finn Müller-Hansen for helpful discussions. This paper was developed within the scope of the IRTG 1740/TRP 2011/50151-0, funded by the DFG/FAPESP. NB acknowledges funding by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. H.M.J.B. acknowledges the financial support from FAPESP project 2013/50510-5 and CNPq fellowship 312131/2014-3. The authors gratefully acknowledge the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Land Brandenburg for supporting this project by providing resources on the high performance computer system at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catrin Ciemer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Niklas Boers
    • 1
    • 3
  • Henrique M. J. Barbosa
    • 4
  • Jürgen Kurths
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  • Anja Rammig
    • 7
  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Geosciences DepartmentÉcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  4. 4.Department of PhysicsUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  5. 5.Department of Control TheoryNizhny Novgorod State UniversityNizhny NovgorodRussia
  6. 6.Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical BiologyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  7. 7.TUM School of Life Sciences WeihenstephanTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany

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