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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Aug 2018

Research article | 06 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Spatial distribution and trends of different precipitation variability indices based on daily data in Northern Chile between 1966 and 2015

Oliver Meseguer-Ruiz1,2, Paulina I. Ponce-Philimon1, Jose A. Guijarro3, and Pablo Sarricolea2,4 Oliver Meseguer-Ruiz et al.
  • 1Departamento de Ciencias Históricas y Geográficas, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile
  • 2Climatology Group, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3State Meteorological Agency (AEMet), Balearic Islands Office, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • 4Departamento de Geografía, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Abstract. Northern Chile is one of the most arid regions in the world, as includes the Atacama Desert, but in high altitudes, precipitation is recorded in a very constricted season every year. This makes that water availability is one of the main concerns for policymakers. Accumulated rainfall presents very high differences from one year to another, and this makes that climate projections have a very low degree of confidence in this area. So to this region it is more interesting to study the irregularity of precipitation itself instead of the accumulated rainfall values. According to daily data of 161 meteorological stations, 4 irregularity indices of precipitation were calculated: concentration index, entropy, persistence index and fractal dimension. These indices were determined according to observed values, and then determined their spatial distribution by interpolating following multivariate regression models that consider different geographical variables such as latitude, distance to the Amazon basin, elevation, orientation and curvature. The temporal trends of each index and for each meteorological station were also calculated, and showed different results depending on the latitude and the elevation. These changes agree with the observed modifications on the intertropical atmospheric circulation and with the changes in the precipitation diurnal cycle. These results will help to improve climate projections for these region and to inform the development of water management policies.

Oliver Meseguer-Ruiz et al.
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Oliver Meseguer-Ruiz et al.
Oliver Meseguer-Ruiz et al.
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Short summary
Water in Northern Chile, mainly characterized by the Atacama Desert, is a very scarce resource, and precipitations are the principal providing source of it. Under very challenging climate change scenarios, to study, not only the amount evolutions but also the irregularity of rainfall is of high interest, so models can be improved. Climate projections can be more confident, so policymakers can develop more appropriate politics and can take more accurate decisions to manage water in this area.
Water in Northern Chile, mainly characterized by the Atacama Desert, is a very scarce resource,...