Multiscale trends and precipitation extremes in the Central American Midsummer Drought
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Sch Geog & Dev
Univ Arizona, Lab Tree Ring Res
North Atlantic Subtropical High
Caribbean Low Level Jet
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherIOP PUBLISHING LTD
CitationTalia G Anderson et al 2019 Environ. Res. Lett. 14 124016
JournalENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS
Rights© 2019 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractAnecdotal evidence suggests that the timing and intensity of the Central American Midsummer Drought (MSD) may be changing, while observations from limited meteorological station data and paleoclimate reconstructions show neither significant nor consistent trends in seasonal rainfall. Climate model simulations project robust future drying across the region, but internal variability is expected to dominate until the end of the century. Here we use a high-resolution gridded precipitation dataset to investigate these apparent discrepancies and to quantify the spatiotemporal complexities of the MSD. We detect spatially variable trends in MSD timing, the amount of rainy season precipitation, the number of consecutive and total dry days, and extreme wet events at the local scale. At the regional scale, we find a positive trend in the duration, but not the magnitude of the MSD, which is dominated by spatially heterogeneous trends and interannual variability linked to large-scale modes of ocean-atmosphere circulation. Although the current climate still reflects predominantly internal variability, some Central American communities are already experiencing significant changes in local characteristics of the MSD. A detailed spatiotemporal understanding of MSD trends and variability can contribute to evidence-based adaptation planning and help reduce the vulnerability of Central American communities to both natural rainfall variability and anthropogenic change.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsUS National Science FoundationNational Science Foundation (NSF) [NSF BCS 0852652, 1263609]; NSFNational Science Foundation (NSF) [P2C2 AGS 1623727]; [AGS 1243125]