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Variability and trends of extreme dry and wet seasonal precipitation in Argentina. A retrospective analysis

Author(s): B. SCIAN | J. PIERINI

Journal: Atmósfera
ISSN 0187-6236

Volume: 26;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Long-term rainfall series | gamma distribution | percentiles | extreme dry and wet | trends | central Argentina

The variability in seasonal mean and extreme precipitation is analyzed for several regions of Argentina to the north of 39º S, using long-term monthly time series data which expand from 1860 to 2006. The selected locations can be considered as representative of different climatic regions. This work focuses on the analysis of monthly rainfall distribution, significant seasonal trends, changes in variance and extreme monthly values, in order to establish the magnitude of the seasonal climatic rainfall variability through time for central Argentina. A 40-yr moving window was employed in order to analyze seasonal variability of rainfall extremes. Extremes were computed for different probability levels of a theoretical distribution function over/below the 80th/20th percentile. The gamma distribution was selected among five other theoretical distributions, and the scale and shape parameters were computed using the maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) and the bootstrap method for 1000 resample data sets, as well. Trend analysis was performed for each window on winter and summer means and tested for significance. The use of a moving window allowed detecting the window of maximum absolute values for the trends. Research results show significant temporalshifts in seasonal rainfall distribution and return values (RV) that were computed for different frequencies (once every five, 10 and 20 years). Generally, summer precipitation extremes have become wetter for the whole region. Rainfall amounts for summer wet/dry extremes (W/D) corresponding to the 90th (for W) and 10th (for D) percentiles were subjected to significant increase, but depending on the geographical area this effect spreads slightly differently over records of years. A common-for-all-stations period of such summer increase trend in extreme values spans from the window 1921-1960 to the last window analyzed: 1967-2006.This behavior was not observed for north and west Argentina during winter, except for the region represented by Bahía Blanca, where the 10% D extreme has increased throughout the study period.
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