The relationship between atmospheric low-frequency variability patterns and drought events in the insular Caribbean

Authors: Flavia Dias De Souza Moraes*, University of Georgia, Thomas L. Mote, University of Georgia
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Drought, scPDSI, Caribbean islands, Teleconections
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 2:25 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Plaza Court 3, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The insular Caribbean is located in the tropical North Atlantic, where evaporation normally exceeds precipitation. Therefore, the small islands have few potable surface water resources and their population mostly depends on precipitation and groundwater for water supply. A driver of the spatial and temporal variability of rainfall is changes in atmospheric low-frequency modes of variability known as teleconnections. Previous studies have already indicated the relationship between the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM) on Caribbean rainfall. However, only a few studies have discussed the effects of teleconnections on drought events in the Caribbean. Using a high-resolution drought product (4 km) based on the ‘‘self-calibrating’’ Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI), this study analyses spatial and temporal distributions of drought events in the insular Caribbean. The scPDSI is also used to understand the correlation between drought events and teleconnection patterns over the Caribbean. Preliminary results and previous studies suggest that anomalous dry periods during the Early Rainfall Season (Apr-Jun) are negatively correlated with NAO, and positively correlated with AMM in Eastern Caribbean islands, while anomalous dry Late Rainfall Season (Aug-Nov) are negatively correlated with ENSO in Western Caribbean islands.

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