Influence of Central and East ENSO on extreme events of precipitation in South America during austral spring and summer

Published in International Journal of Climatology, v. 35(8):2045-2064 

Tedeschi, R.G., Grimm, A.M. and Cavalcanti, I.F.

Publication year 2015
  • Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies/National Institute for Space Research, Cachoeira Paulista, SP, Brazil
  • Department of Physics, Federal University of Parana, Curitiba, Brazil


IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3035


Recent studies show that different types of ENSO influence the atmospheric fields differently. In this study, precipitation anomalies and extreme events over South America are analysed with relation to two types of ENSO [East (strong Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTA) on East Pacific) and Central (strong SSTA on Central Pacific)]. The composites of precipitation anomalies, during these two types of ENSO, show that there are different patterns, e.g. during austral summer of Central El Niño (CEN) there are negative precipitation anomalies in eastern Brazil that do not exist in East El Niño (EEN), whereas in southern Brazil there are positive precipitation anomalies during EEN that do not exist in CEN. Furthermore, the anomalies are mostly stronger and more extensive during EEN (Central La Niña - CLN) than in CEN (East La Niña - ELN), although there are some exceptions, such as during austral spring in southern Brazil, where anomalies during CEN (ELN) are stronger than during EEN (CLN). The anomalous frequency of extreme precipitation events shows generally patterns consistent with the anomalous precipitation behaviour, though the patterns are not always coincident, because the regions with significant increase of frequency of extreme events tend to be more extensive than those with increased seasonal precipitation. When the monthly or seasonal atmospheric anomalies associated with a type of ENSO episode are very similar (opposite) to the atmospheric anomalies associated with extreme precipitation in a certain region, then a significant enhancement (suppression) of the frequency of extreme events is observed in that region during this type of episode.