The Mid-Summer Drought spatial variability over Mesoamerica

Lilian C. García-Oliva, Enrique Pazos

Abstract

The region that includes southern Mexico and Central America is known as Mesoamerica. The annual cycle of precipitation characteristic of the Pacific slope of this region presents a bimodal distribution on summertime, with two maxima and a relative intraseasonal minimum, known as the Mid-Summer Drought (MSD). In this study, the small-scale (tens of kilometers) variability of the MSD is analyzed. Numerical simulations are performed using the regional climate model RegCM4 over a Mesoamerican domain for a six-year period. ERA Interim reanalysis data is used as initial and lateral boundary conditions. The domain is subdivided into smaller areas and the average annual cycle of precipitation distribution is computed for each of them. The MSD pattern is found to present a high spatial variability in the intensity of its two maxima and even the total absence of its characteristic minimum. Such behavior is attributed to soil-atmosphere and terrain topography interactions that are better resolved with a regional climate model.

Keywords

Mid-Summer drought; Mesoamerica; precipitation; variability; regional model

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