Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 89–106

Characteristics of large-scale atmospheric circulation related to extreme monthly rainfall anomalies in the Pampa Region, Argentina, under non-ENSO conditions

  • B. Scian
  • J. C. Labraga
  • W. Reimers
  • O. Frumento
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00704-005-0182-8

Cite this article as:
Scian, B., Labraga, J., Reimers, W. et al. Theor. Appl. Climatol. (2006) 85: 89. doi:10.1007/s00704-005-0182-8

Summary

There is a widely held view that the Pampa region (PR) dry and wet periods are predominantly a consecuence of the El Niño-Southern oscillation (ENSO) phenomenom. The current paper focuses on non-ENSO rainfall anomalies for the period 1948–2000, the more recent of which have had catastrophic consequences throughout the region. We analyze horizontal water vapor transport, pressure and circulation anomalies occurring in Southern South America (SSA) during this type of event. Positive and negative (wet and dry) extreme events during the rainy and dry seasons in the region were registered. Based on NCEP reanalysis data it was established that under rainfall deficit, anomalies of similar intensity occurred simultaneously in the PR and in central Chile, whereas under excess rainfall the anomalies were mostly confined to the PR. The existence of a cyclone-anticyclone pair in the anomalous circulation pattern over mid latitudes of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and straddling the southern portion of the continent maintains an intense and extense meridional circulation over the continental plains, which leads to the abnormal values in moisture transport and rainfall rate. The atmospheric water balance equation calculated for the PR indicates that anomalous water vapor is carried in from the continental equatorial region and from the subtropical Atlantic, its magnitude varying in accordance with the season and the sign of the anomaly. Furthermore, evidence of the important role of transient terms corroborates their contribution to the anomalous total moisture flux divergence under rainfall deficit during the dry season. The mean sea-level pressure anomaly fields of the extreme cases were further examined by principal component analysis to discern those circulation features directly linked to rainfall deviations.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Scian
    • 1
  • J. C. Labraga
    • 2
  • W. Reimers
    • 1
  • O. Frumento
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de AgronomíaUniversidad Nacional del SurBahía BlancaArgentina
  2. 2.Centro Nacional Patagónico, CONICET, Pto. MadrynChubutArgentina

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