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Observed (1970-1999) climate variability in Central America using a high-resolution meteorological dataset with implication to climate change studies
Univ Costa Rica, Sch Phys, San Pedro 2060, Costa Rica.;Univ Costa Rica, Ctr Geophys Res, San Pedro 2060, Costa Rica..
Univ Costa Rica, Sch Phys, San Pedro 2060, Costa Rica.;Univ Costa Rica, Ctr Geophys Res, San Pedro 2060, Costa Rica.;Univ Costa Rica, Ctr Res Marine Sci & Limnol, San Pedro 2060, Costa Rica..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. Univ Costa Rica, Ctr Geophys Res, San Pedro 2060, Costa Rica..
2017 (English)In: Climatic Change, ISSN 0165-0009, E-ISSN 1573-1480, Vol. 141, no 1, p. 13-28Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

High spatial resolution of precipitation (P) and average air temperature (Tavg) datasets are ideal for determining the spatial patterns associated with large-scale atmospheric and oceanic indexes, and climate change and variability studies, however such datasets are not usually available. Those datasets are particularly important for Central America because they allow the conception of climate variability and climate change studies in a region of high climatic heterogeneity and at the same time aid the decisionmaking process at the local scale (municipalities and districts). Tavg data from stations and complementary gridded datasets at 50 km resolution were used to generate a high-resolution (5 km grid) dataset for Central America from 1970 to 1999. A highresolution P dataset was used along with the new Tavg dataset to study climate variability and a climate change application. Consistently with other studies, it was found that the 1970-1999 trends in P are generally non-significant, with the exception of a few small locations. In the case of Tavg, there were significant warming trends in most of Central America, and cooling trends in Honduras and northern Panama. When the sea surface temperature anomalies between the Tropical Pacific and the Tropical Atlantic have different (same) sign, they are a good indicator of the sign of P (Tavg) annual anomalies. Even with non-significant trends in precipitation, the significant warming trends in Tavg in most of Central America can have severe consequences in the hydrology and water availability of the region, as the warming would bring increases in evapotranspiration, drier soils and higher aridity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017. Vol. 141, no 1, p. 13-28
National Category
Climate Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320295DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1786-yISI: 000395201500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-320295DiVA, id: diva2:1090720
Available from: 2017-04-25 Created: 2017-04-25 Last updated: 2017-10-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Hydro-Climatic Variability and Change in Central America: Supporting Risk Reduction Through Improved Analyses and Data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydro-Climatic Variability and Change in Central America: Supporting Risk Reduction Through Improved Analyses and Data
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Variabilitet och förändring av hydrologi och klimat i Mellanamerika : Stöd för riskreducering genom förbättrade analyser och data
Abstract [en]

Floods and droughts are frequent in Central America and cause large social, economic and environmental impacts. A crucial step in disaster risk reduction is to have a good understanding of the causing mechanisms of extreme events and their spatio-temporal characteristics. For this, a key aspect is access to a dense network of long and good-quality hydro-meteorological data. Unfortunately, such ideal data are sparse or non-existent in Central America. In addition, the existing methods for hydro-climatic studies need to be revised and/or improved to find the most suitable for the region’s climate, geography and hydro-climatic data situation. This work has the ultimate goal to support the reduction of risks associated with hydro-climatic-induced disasters in Central America. This was sought by developing ways to reduce data-related uncertainties and by improving the available methods to study and understand hydro-climatic variability processes. In terms of data-uncertainty reduction, this thesis includes the development of a high resolution air temperature dataset and a methodology to reduce uncertainties in a hydrological model at ungauged basins. The dataset was able to capture the spatial patterns with a detail not available with existing datasets. The methodology significantly reduced uncertainties in an assumed-to-be ungauged catchment. In terms of methodological improvements, this thesis includes an assessment of the most suitable combination of (available) meteorological datasets and drought indices to characterise droughts in Central America. In addition, a methodology was developed to analyse drought propagation in a tropical catchment, in an automated, objective way. Results from the assessment and the drought propagation analysis contributed with improving the understanding of drought patterns and generating processes in the region. Finally, a methodology was proposed for assessing changes in both hydrological extremes in a consistent way. This contrasts with most commonly used frameworks that study each extreme individually. The method provides important characteristics (frequency, duration and magnitude), information that can be useful for decisions within risk reduction and water management. The results presented in this thesis are a contribution, in terms of hydro-climatic data and assessment methods, for supporting risk reduction of disasters related with hydro-climatic extremes in Central America.

Abstract [sv]

Översvämningar och torka inträffar ofta i Mellanamerika och orsakar stora skador på samhälle, ekonomi och miljö. En kritisk del av riskreduceringen är förståelsen av mekanismerna bakom extremhändelserna, och deras rumsliga och tidskarakteristik. En nyckelfaktor är tillgång till långa tidsserier av rumsligt täckande hydrometeorologiska data av bra kvalitet. I Mellanamerika är sådana ideala data tyvärr sällsynta eller saknas helt. Dessutom behöver befintliga metoder för hydro-klimatisk analys revideras och/eller förbättras för att identifiera de mest lämpade metoderna för regionens klimat, geografi och situationen vad gäller hydrologiska och meteorologiska data. Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling har varit att stödja arbetet med riskreducering i Mellanamerika vid hydrologiska extremhändelser som sätts igång av extrema väderhändelser. För att bidra till detta utvecklades metoder för att minska datarelaterade osäkerheter och för att förbättra tillgängliga metoder för att studera och förstå de processer som ligger bakom variabiliteten i hydrologi och klimat. Dataosäkerheten minskades genom utveckling av ett nytt dataset för lufttemperatur med hög rumslig upplösning och en metodik för att begränsa osäkerheten i modellberäknad vattenföring i ett område där det saknas observationer. Det nya datasetet kunde fånga rumsliga mönster på en detaljnivå som hittills inte varit möjlig. Metodiken möjliggjorde en klar minskning i osäkerheten hos vattenföringen i ett avrinningsområde som behandlades som om det saknade data. Avhandlingen innehåller också en metodik för att fastlägga den mest lämpade kombinationen av tillgängliga klimatdataset och torkindex för att karakterisera torka i Mellanamerika. Därutöver utvecklades en metod för att studera torkans fortplantning i ett tropiskt avrinningsområde på ett objektivt och automatiserat sätt. Slutligen föreslås en metod för att hantera förändringar av både översvämning och torka på ett konsistent sätt  som förenklar användningen av resultaten  för en beslutsfattare. Dessa metoder bedömdes användbara för att förbättra karakteriseringen och förståelsen av extrema hydrologiska händelser i Mellanamerika. Resultaten i denna avhandling ger bidrag till förståelsen av hydrologiska och klimatextremer genom förbättrade data och analysmetoder som i förlängningen kommer att stödja riskreduceringsarbetet i Mellanamerika.

Abstract [es]

Las sequías e inundaciones son frecuentes en Centroamérica y causan grandes problemas sociales, económicos y ambientales. Un aspecto crucial en la reducción del riesgo consiste en entender los mecanismos que causan dichos eventos, y sus características espacio-temporales. Para lograr esto es necesario tener acceso a una red de datos hidro-meterológicos densa, con series largas, y de buena calidad. Desafortunadamente, este no es el caso en Centroamérica. Además, los métodos para hacer estudios hidro-climáticos requieren ser evaluados y/o mejorados para asegurar su aplicabilidad en la región (su clima, su geografía y los datos disponibles). Este trabajo tiene como meta apoyar la reducción del riesgo de desastres asociados a eventos hidro-meteorológicos extremos en Centroamérica. Esto se consigue a partir de la reducción de incertidumbres asociadas a los datos, y de la mejora de métodos para el estudio de la variabilidad hidro-climática. Para reducir la incertidumbre de los datos, este trabajo incluye el desarrollo de una base de datos de temperatura de alta resolución y el desarrollo de una metodología para reducir las incertidumbres en datos simulados de caudal. Con la nueva base de datos se logra reconocer patrones espaciales a un nivel de detalle no antes captado por otras bases de datos. Por otro lado, la metodología redujo significativamente las incertidumbres de los datos simulados de caudal. En cuanto a métodos, esta tesis incluye una evaluación para encontrar la mejor combinación de índices de sequía y base de datos para la caracterización de sequías en la región. Además, se desarrolló una metodología para analizar la propagación de la sequía en una cuenca tropical, de una manera objetiva y automatizada. Los resultados de estos dos pasos ayudaron a mejorar la comprensión de los patrones y los mecanismos de generación de las sequías. Finalmente, se incluyó un método para evaluar los cambios en los patrones de sequías e inundaciones de una manera consistente, y no de manera individual como usualmente se ha hecho. Así fue posible obtener la frecuencia, duración y magnitud en ambos extremos hidrológicos. Esta información podría constituir una herramienta  útil para el manejo del riesgo y del recurso hídrico.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. p. 70
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1570
Keywords
Central America, climate variability, disaster risk reduction, droughts, drought indices, floods, hydrological model, process constraints, statistical downscaling, uncertainty, ungauged basins, water resources.
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Research subject
Hydrology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-330814 (URN)978-91-513-0092-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-11-24, Axel Hambergsalen, Earth Sciences Centre, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-10-31 Created: 2017-10-05 Last updated: 2018-01-13

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