Eastern Tropical Pacific Precipitation Response to Zonal SPCZ events

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ana María Durán-Quesada, University of Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica and Benjamin R Lintner, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States
Extreme El Niño events and warming conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific have been linked to pronounced spatial displacements of the South Pacific Convergence Zone known as “zonal SPCZ” events.. Using a global dataset of Lagrangian back trajectories computed with the FLEXPART model for the period 1980-2013, comprehensive analysis of the 3D circulation characteristics associated with the SPCZ is undertaken. Ten days history of along-trajectory specific humidity, potential vorticity and temperature are reconstructed for zonal SPCZ events as well as other states,, with differences related to El Niño intensity and development stage as well as the state of the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool. How zonal events influence precipitation over the Eastern Tropical Pacific is examined using back trajectories, reanalysis, TRMM precipitation, and additional satellite derived cloud information. It is found that SPCZ displacements are associated with enhanced convection over the Eastern Tropical Pacific in good agreement with prior work. The connection between intensification of precipitation over the eastern Tropical Pacific during zonal events and suppression of rainfall over the Maritime continent is also described.