Central-West Argentina Summer Precipitation Variability and Atmospheric Teleconnections

Agosta, Eduardo A.; Compagnucci, Rosa H.
March 2012
Journal of Climate;Mar2012, Vol. 25 Issue 5, p1657
Academic Journal
The interannual-to-multidecadal variability of central-west Argentina (CWA) summer (October-March) precipitation and associated tropospheric circulation are studied in the period 1900-2010. Precipitation shows significant quasi cycles with periods of about 2, 4-5, 6-8, and 16-22 yr. The quasi-bidecadal oscillation is significant from the early 1910s until the mid-1970s and is present in pressure time series over the southwestern South Atlantic. According to the lower-frequency spectral variation, a prolonged wet spell is observed from 1973 to the early 2000s. The precipitation variability shows a reversal trend since then. In that wet epoch, the regionally averaged precipitation has been increased about 24%%. The lower-frequency spectral variation is attributed to the climate shift of 1976/77. From the early twentieth century until the mid-1970s, the precipitation variability is associated with barotropic quasi-stationary wave (QSW) propagation from the tropical southern Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, generating vertical motion and moisture anomalies at middle-to-subtropical latitudes east of the Andes over southern South America. The QSW propagation could be related to anomalous convection partly induced by tropical anomalous SSTs in the western Indian Ocean (WIO). It could also be linked to another midlatitude source along the storm tracks, to the east of New Zealand. After 1976/77, the precipitation variability is associated with equatorial symmetric circulation anomalies linked to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-like warmer conditions. Positive moisture anomalies are consistently observed at lower latitudes in association with inflation of the western flank of the South Atlantic anticyclone. Outside of this, the precipitation variability is unrelated to ENSO.


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