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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 890759, 11 pages
Research Article

Moisture Sources and Life Cycle of Convective Systems over Western Colombia

1Research Institute for Meteorology and Water Resources, Avenida Rui Barbosa, 1246, 60115-221 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
2Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Escuela de Geociencias y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín, Medellín, Colombia

Received 31 August 2011; Revised 7 December 2011; Accepted 8 December 2011

Academic Editor: Klaus Dethloff

Copyright © 2011 Meiry Sayuri Sakamoto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes life cycle and moisture sources of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) observed over western Colombia. Results show that, in general, MCS are more frequent during boreal summer and autumn, and particularly, systems observed in summer season present longer life and larger extension. On the continent, MCS genesis is strongly affected by sea breeze and diurnal heating and presents a peak from 15 to 18 LST. For oceanic systems, the main genesis period is later, from 00 to 03 LST. Continental and oceanic systems present a tendency of westward displacement. Analysis using a Lagrangian approach implemented to estimate air parcel trajectories suggests that, during boreal winter, the main moisture sources are from the Caribbean Sea and tropical north Atlantic, possibly resulting from the moisture-laden trade winds and the land-ocean temperature contrast over northern South America. In summer, it is clear the influence of ITCZ positioning with moisture particles traveling from the tropical Atlantic over Amazonian river basin. In Autumn, Chilean-Peruvian Pacific is the main moisture source, confirming the importance of Chocó low level jet to MCS genesis.