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The mid-summer drought over Mexico and Central America in the 21st century
SMHI, Research Department, Climate research - Rossby Centre.
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Climatology, ISSN 0899-8418, E-ISSN 1097-0088Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The southern Mexico and Central America (SMCA) region shows a dominant well-defined precipitation annual cycle. The rainy season usually begins in May and ends in October, with a relatively dry period in July and August known as the mid-summer drought (MSD); notable exceptions are the Caribbean coast of Honduras and Costa Rica. This MSD phenomenon is expected to be affected as the SMCA experiences an enhanced differential warming between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (PO-AO) towards the end of the 21st century. Previous studies have suggested that this differential warming will induce a strengthening of the westward Caribbean low-level jet (CLLJ) and that this heightened CLLJ will shift precipitation westwards, falling on the PO instead that within the SMCA region causing a severe drought. In this work we examine this scenario with a new model, the Rossby Center Regional Climate Model (RCA4), for the COordinated Regional climate Downscaling EXperiment (CORDEX) Central America domain, forced with different general circulation models (GCMs) and for different representative concentration paths (RCPs). We consider 25-year periods as "present conditions" (1981-2005) and "future scenario" (2071-2095), focusing on the "extended summer" season (May-October). Results suggest that in the future the spatial extension of the MSD will decrease and that in certain areas the MSD will be more intense but less frequent compared to present conditions. Also, the oceanic differential warming, the intensification of the CLLJ, and the reduction in regional precipitation in the future scenario, suggested by previous works, were verified in this study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Climate Research
Research subject
Climate
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URN: urn:nbn:se:smhi:diva-5437DOI: 10.1002/joc.6296ISI: 000486176500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:smhi-5437DiVA, id: diva2:1360869
Available from: 2019-10-14 Created: 2019-10-14 Last updated: 2019-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Fuentes Franco, Ramon

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