Journal cover Journal topic
Annales Geophysicae An open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Ann. Geophys., 25, 1049-1069, 2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
04 Jun 2007
Warm and Dry Spells (WDS) in Austral Winter over Central South America
P. Satyamurty, M. da Silva Teixeira, and C. Klug Padilha Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos (CPTEC), Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Av. Astronautas, No. 1758, São José dos Campos, SP, CEP: 12.245-970, Brazil
Abstract. The horizontal and vertical structure of unusually warm and dry spells (WDS) over the central parts of South America during the winter and post-winter months (JJAS) are studied. During WDS the mean temperature and humidity anomalies over central Brazil are about +4.1°C and −13.2%, respectively. The mean duration of WDS is 11 days and their mean frequency is less than one per year during the months of JJAS. Apparently, WDS have no preference for the phase of ENSO. Widespread and persistent subsidence in the middle troposphere is observed in tropical Brazil during WDS, which renders the lower tropospheric air warm and dry. The negative anomalies of the specific humidity are observed to be associated with the subsidence regions. A strong, slow moving ridge in the eastern South Pacific and a low-pressure center in northern Argentina are important surface characteristics during the WDS. A more detailed investigation of two specific WDS events, a strong event (August–September 1999) and a moderate one (June 2002), shows a blocking-like situation in the 500-hPa geopotential and surface pressure fields in the Pacific. The South Atlantic subtropical high somewhat approaches the continent. Strong northerlies over the central and eastern parts of Brazil are also observed in the lower troposphere. During WDS the regional circulation acquires summertime characteristics, except for the absence of precipitation, and the circulation in the meridional plane is in the opposite sense from the Hadley circulation. A frontal system, supported by a 500-hPa trough, advances into central Brazil, causing the dissipation of the anomalous situation.

Citation: Satyamurty, P., da Silva Teixeira, M., and Klug Padilha, C.: Warm and Dry Spells (WDS) in Austral Winter over Central South America, Ann. Geophys., 25, 1049-1069, doi:10.5194/angeo-25-1049-2007, 2007.
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