An adaptive approach to quantify weather-within-climate rainfall characteristics
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An adaptive approach to quantify weather-within-climate rainfall characteristics

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  • Journal Title:
    Climate Dynamics
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    Knowledge of subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) rainfall characteristics such as onset, duration, and demise of the rainfall cycle, and characteristics of dry periods that are between rainfall seasons, can provide important insight for the agriculture, health, disaster, and energy industries. Several methods have attempted to calculate temporal characteristics of rainfall and few have worked with intermittent dry periods and calculate intermittent dry period characteristics. Issues arise when applying these methods for complex rainfall regimes, or regions that have one or more of the following: (1) multiple rainfall seasons in a given year, (2) a relatively wet dry season, (3) unclear transitions between wet and dry seasons. This study develops a new and comprehensive method for calculating S2S rainfall characteristics, especially for regions that have complex annual rainfall cycles. The method consists of three steps: (1) create the annual cycle climatology of rainfall and classify its modality by the presence or absence of intermittent dry period(s), (2) identify seasonal windows of the rainfall cycle based on its climatological modality, (3) calculate yearly intermittent dry period characteristics and calculate temporal rainfall characteristics for each year using information on daily rainfall amount and the concurrent rate of change. Application and results of the method are given for the Caribbean, which exhibits the properties of a region with complex rainfall regimes. The method can be utilized under a meteorological or agronomical lens and is able to delineate false meteorological and agronomical onsets and demises. Meteorological onsets and demises that are calculated via each year’s Early-Rainy Season (ERS) and Late-Rainy Season (LRS) mean thresholds effectively characterize the seasonal evolution of mean onsets and demises in the Caribbean. The year-to-year variability of Mid-Summer Drought (MSD) characteristics, and onsets and demises that are calculated by climatological ERS and LRS mean thresholds resemble the variability of seasonal rainfall totals in the Caribbean and are statistically significantly correlated with the identified dynamical processes that impact each seasonal component of the rainfall cycle. The method has important implications for prediction, modeling capabilities, and understanding the variability of rainfall across timescales.
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    Climate Dynamics, 59(7-8), 1997-2024
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    CC BY
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