Articles | Volume 6
01 Feb 2006
01 Feb 2006

Inter ENSO variability and its influence over the South American monsoon system

A. R. M. Drumond and T. Ambrizzi

Abstract. Previous studies have discussed the interannual variability of a meridional seesaw of dry and wet conditions over South America (SA) associated to the modulation of the South Atlantic Convergence Zone (SACZ). However, they did not explore if the variability inter ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) can be related to the phase changes of this dipole. To answer this question, an observational work was carried out to explore the atmospheric and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) conditions related to the same ENSO signal and to opposite dipole phases.

Rotated Empirical Orthogonal Function (REOF) analysis was applied over normalized Chen precipitation seasonal anomalies in order to find the dipole mode in the Austral Summer (December to February). The fourth rotated mode, explaining 6.6% of the total variance, consists of positive loading over the SACZ region and negative loading over northern Argentina. Extreme events were selected and enhanced activity of SACZ during the Summer season (SACZ+) was identified in nine years: five during La Niña events (LN) and two in El Niño episodes (EN). On the other hand, inhibited manifestations of this system (SACZ-) were identified in seven years: four in EN and two during LN.

Power spectrum analysis indicated that the interannual variability of the precipitation dipole seems to be related to the low frequency and to the quasi-biennial part of ENSO variability. The ENSO events with the same signal can present opposite phases for the dipole. The results suggest that the displacement of the convection over Indonesia and western Pacific can play an important role to modulate the seesaw pattern.