Extreme Rainfall Events over the Amazon Basin Produce Significant Quantities of Rain Relative to the Rainfall Climatology


Although much effort has been made to characterize and understand extreme rainfall’s causes and effects, little is known about their frequency and intensity. Moreover, knowledge about their contribution to the total rainfall climatology is still minimal, especially over the Amazon where rainfall data are very scarce. In this paper we propose to classify extreme rainfall events by type and analyze their frequency and intensity over South America with a focus on the Amazon basin. Gridded daily data from the MERGE/CPTEC product over a period of 15 years (1998–2013) was used. An adaptation of Rx5d climate index was applied to select different kinds of extreme rainfall for the purpose of quantifying their frequency and intensity as well as their contribution to the accumulated rainfall climatology. According to the results, all kinds of extreme rainfall events can be observed over the studied area. However, the quantity of rainfall produced by each type is different, and consequently their percent contributions to the total accumulated rainfall climatology also differ. For example: in the Amazon region EET-I is responsible for 15% - 40% of the total accumulated rainfall. Moreover, in the Brazilian northeast there are regions where EET-I exceeds 40% of the total rainfall. In northeast Brazil EET-II is responsible up to 30% of the total accumulated rainfall. EET-III is responsible for 5% - 15% in the Amazon basin, 25% - 45% in northeast Brazil and 10% - 45% over Roraima State. Area-mean time variation shows that the quantity of rainfall extremes over the Amazon basin was reduced during the El Nino years of 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2010, while during the La Ni?a episodes of 1999, 2008 and 2011 the quantity of rainfall related to the extremes increased.

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Brito, A. , Veiga, J. and Yoshida, M. (2014) Extreme Rainfall Events over the Amazon Basin Produce Significant Quantities of Rain Relative to the Rainfall Climatology. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 179-191. doi: 10.4236/acs.2014.42021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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