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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 492630, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/492630
Research Article

South American Climatology and Impacts of El Niño in NCEP’s CFSR Data

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, 3642 Lindell, Boulevard, O’Neil Hall 205, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA

Received 21 August 2013; Revised 2 October 2013; Accepted 17 October 2013

Academic Editor: Anthony R. Lupo

Copyright © 2013 Timothy Paul Eichler and Ana C. Londoño. 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.

Abstract

Understanding regional climate variability is necessary in order to assess the impacts of climate change. Until recently, the best methods for evaluating regional climate variability were via observation networks and coarse-gridded reanalysis datasets. However, the recent development of high-resolution reanalysis datasets offers an opportunity to better evaluate the climatologically diverse continent of South America. This study compares NCEP’s CFS reanalysis dataset with NCEP’s coarser-resolution reanalysis II dataset to determine if CFS reanalysis improves our ability to represent the regional climate of South America. Our results show several regional differences between the CFSR and Re2 data, especially in areas of large topographical gradients. A comparison with the University of Delaware and TRMM precipitation datasets lends credence to some of these differences, such as heavier precipitation associated with anomalous 925 hPa westerlies over northwestern Peru and Ecuador during El Niño. However, our results also stress that caution is advised when using reanalysis data to assess regional climate variability, especially in areas of large topographical gradient such as the Andes. Our results establish a baseline to better study climate change, especially given the release of IPCC AR5 model simulations.