Synoptic patterns of South Atlantic Convergence Zone episodes associated with heavy rainfall events in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Gustavo Carlos Juan Escobar
Ana Clara de Almeida Marques
Claudine Pereira Dereczynski

Abstract

The present study provides a synoptic characterization of South Atlantic Convergence Zone (SACZ) episodes that caused heavy rainfall events (HRE) in the city of Rio de Janeiro (CRJ) between 2006 and 2016.  A total of 77 SACZ episodes was configured in the CRJ (SCRJ), which represented 81% of the total SACZ events in Brazil. It was found 37 SCRJ episodes with at least one day of HRE during the SACZ period (SHRE), representing almost half (48%) of the SACZ events in the CRJ. In 89% of these cases, the heavy rainfall occurred on the first and/or second days of the SHRE period. The mean synoptic pattern of SHRE showed a cold front in the Atlantic Ocean connected with a low-pressure system located near the coast of Rio de Janeiro state (RJ). The 850 hPa specific humidity showed a dipole pattern with positive anomalies in southeastern Brazil and negative anomalies in southern Brazil since the day before the occurrence of SHRE. An anomalous upper-level ridge in southeastern Brazil was relevant to intensifying the heavy rainfall in the CRJ. The synoptic classification showed four main surface synoptic patterns associated with SHRE. The two most frequent patterns were associated with a cold front close to the coast of RJ, and the other two were related to the presence of an anticyclone with blocking characteristics and to the presence of a weak extratropical cyclone near the coast of RJ.

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