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Extreme rainfall of the South American monsoon system: A dataset comparison using complex networks

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von Storch,  Jin Song
Ocean Statistics, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
A 1 - Climate Variability and Predictability, Research Area A: Climate Dynamics and Variability, The CliSAP Cluster of Excellence, External Organizations;
I 3 - Global High-Resolution Climate Reconstruction, Integrated Activities, The CliSAP Cluster of Excellence, External Organizations;

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Citation

Boers, N., Bookhagen, B., Marengo, J., Marwan, N., von Storch, J. S., & Kurths, J. (2015). Extreme rainfall of the South American monsoon system: A dataset comparison using complex networks. Journal of Climate, 28, 1031-1056. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00340.1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-419F-8
Abstract
In this study, we compare six different rainfall datasets for South America with a focus on their representation of extreme rainfall during the monsoon season (December to February): The gauge-calibrated satellite product TRMM 3B42 V7, the (near) real-time version TRMM 3B42 V7 RT, the satellite-gauge combination product GPCP 1DD V1.2, the ECMWF reanalysis product ERA-interim, output of a high spatial resolution run of the ECHAM6 global circulation model, and output of the regional climate model ETA. For the latter three, this study can be understood as a model evaluation. In addition to statistical values of local rainfall distributions, we focus on the spatial characteristics of extreme rainfall co-variability. Since traditional approaches based on principal component analysis are not applicable in the context of extreme events, we apply and further develop methods based on complex network theory. This way, we uncover substantial differences in extreme rainfall patterns between the different datasets: i) The three model-derived datasets yield very different results than the satellite-gauge combinations regarding the main climatological propagation pathways of extreme events as well as the main convergence zones of the monsoon system. ii) Large discrepancies are found for the development of mesoscale convective systems in southeastern South America. iii) Both TRMM datasets and ECHAM6 indicate a linkage of extreme rainfall events between the central Amazon Basin and the eastern slopes of the central Andes, but this pattern is not reproduced by the remaining datasets. Our study suggests that none of the three model-derived datasets adequately capture extreme rainfall patterns in South America.