Robustness of the influence of El Niño on the spatial extent of tropical drought
- International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, NY, USA
Abstract. It has been well established that drought frequently emerges in several tropical regions following the onset of El Niño. An important characteristic of such droughts is their spatial extent, which has recently been linked to the strength of a particular El Niño event. Here the robustness of this relationship is examined through comparison of results from several gridded precipitation analyses for the global tropics. It is found that there is very good agreement across these datasets, including those which incorporate satellite rainfall estimates, confirming that maximum drought extent in tropical land areas increases nearly linearly with associated maximum sea surface temperature anomalies in the east-central tropical Pacific during El Niño events.