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APRIL 10-11, 2008



Drought in Mexico: 1994-2005

David W. Stahle1, E. R. Cook2, and J. Villanueva Diaz3

Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arkansas.
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. 3Laboratorio de
Dendrocronologia, INIFAP-CENID RASPA, Durango, Mexico
E-mail: dstahle@uark.edu


Prolonged drought conditions have persisted over western North America for
the past decade, affecting snow pack, stream discharge, reservoir levels, and
wildfire activity. Instrumental Palmer drought severity indices (Dai et al. 1998,
2004) indicate that the current North American drought began 14 years ago in
Mexico, and has primarily impacted the winter, spring and early summer
moisture balance. The Dai et al. global land area PDSI have unrealistically low
values over central Mexico beginning ca. 2000, but the recent drought appears
to be approaching the severity of the 1950s drought over northern Mexico.
Drought estimates calculated with long, moisture-sensitive tree-ring
chronologies from northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. indicate that the
current drought may also be approaching the severity, though not the
persistence of the epic 16th century megadrought. Large-scale changes in
ocean-atmospheric circulation have contributed to lower precipitation during the
winter, spring, and early summer (Seager 2007), but the recent warming over
Mexico appears to be a major component of this increasing seasonal aridity.
The warming is dominated by a rise in maximum daily temperatures and may
be a partial consequence of land cover change in Mexico (Englehart and
Douglas 2005). Extensive land conversion for human use and settlement is
believed to have reduced evaporative cooling and sharply increased the
sensible to latent heat flux, favoring higher daily temperature maxima and
overwhelming the potential cooling effects of increased surface albedo following
land cover change. The higher temperatures along with the average to below
average rainfall that has prevailed from 1994-2005 during winter, spring, and
early summer appear to be contributing to the prolonged deficit in seasonal
PDSI over Mexico.

Dai, A., Trenberth, K.E., Karl, T.R., 1998. Global variations in droughts and wet spells: 1900–
1995. Geophysical Research Letters 25:3367–3370.

Dai, A., K. E. Trenberth, and T. Qian, 2004: A global data set of Palmer Drought Severity Index
for 1870-2002: Relationship with soil moisture and effects of surface warming. Journal of
Hydrometeorology, 5, 1117-1130.

Englehart, P.J., and A.V. Douglas, 2005. Changing behavior in the diurnal range of surface air
temperatures over Mexico. Geophysical Research Letters 32, L01701,

Seager, R., 2007. The turn of the century North American drought: global context, dynamics,
and past analogs. Journal of Climate 20:5527-5552.


Analysis of variations in monthly precipitation in western

Mexico compared with vegetation dynamics derived from
satellite data

Jesus Sabori1, Christopher J. Watts1 and Julio C. Rodríguez2

Departamento de Física. 2Departamento de Agricultura y Ganadería
Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
E-mail: watts@raramuri.fisica.uson.mx


Monthly climate data for a network of well maintained stations throughout

Mexico was provided by the Mexican National Weather Service. All stations
have at least 50 years of data and the variability was analyzed for each climatic
region using the SPI (Standardized Precipitation Index) with a 4 year window.
Periods of regional scale drought can be observed in the 50s, 70s and 2000s
and periods of increased rainfall in the mid 80s and 90s. The variability in
rainfall is much greater in winter than summer and the most recent drought is
mainly due to the lack of winter rain. The vegetation dynamics were obtained for
a 19 year period (1982-2000) using NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation
Index) data from the AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) on
boards the NOAA polar orbiting satellites. These data were separated into
winter and summer periods the percent difference from the mean was
calculated for each period and compared with the SPI data.


Landfalling tropical cyclones in Northwestern Mexico


L.M. Farfán
CICESE, unidad La Paz
E-mail: farfan@cicese.mx


The landfall of tropical cyclones over northwestern Mexico is set in a

climatological perspective for the period from 1970 to 2006. The National
Hurricane Center best-track dataset is used and the historical analysis is limited
to systems that made landfall over the peninsula or the mainland of
northwestern Mexico, which includes the states of Nayarit, Sinaloa and Sonora.
During this period, more than 500 tropical cyclones developed in the eastern
Pacific Ocean and less than 10% of them moved into the area of interest. Most
of the landfall events occurred late in the storm season, between August and

Rain-gauge records, from the above 37-year period, are used to make an
estimate of the rainfall collected during the landfall periods. One of the
interesting results from this study is that some of the recent events, when
compared with previous landfalls, resulted in a substantial contribution to the
total accumulations received in periods of 24-72 hours. This includes the
landfall of Hurricanes John (2006) and Henriette (2007). These hurricanes were
associated with episodes of convective outbreaks and heavy rainfall throughout
the mountain ranges of the Baja California Peninsula and the Sierra Madre


Paleorecords of tropical storms in the lower Gulf of California:

The last millennium

J. C. Herguera1, G. Bernal2
CICESE, Ensenada, Baja California, México
Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín, Colombia
E-mail: herguera@cicese.mx


Located in the limit between the tropical and subtropical to arid regions the
climate of the southern most Baja California Peninsula seasonally oscillates
between a dry and a humid period that coincides with boreal winter and summer
and reflects the tropical rainy season that affects most of southern México and
the Central American Isthmus. The period of yearly maximum in isolation
precedes maximum precipitation in this region and coincides with maxima in
eastern tropical Pacific SSTs, the northward migration of the ITZC, the
convective activity in the Mexican monsoon region and the occurrence of
tropical hurricanes. Precipitation patterns in the southern tip of the Baja
California Peninsula, situated at the dynamic boundary between these tropical
climatic processes and the temperate California Current region, are strongly
affected by the passage of tropical storms fueled by the high SSTs of the
eastern tropical Pacific warm water lens during late summer. All of the high
precipitation events instrumentally recorded in this region are invariably
associated with the arrival of a large anomaly in tropical cyclonic activity. These
extraordinary and abrupt events discharge large volumes of water in a relatively
short time span setting off important erosional and transfer processes from land
to the ocean which ultimately feed the coastal basins in the southwestern Gulf
of California with lithogenic sediments. We will present time series from several
laminated cores recovered in two of these semienclosed coastal basins in this
region that show the modulation introduced by tropical storms in the formation
of laminated sediments, their periodicity and amplitude, and will discuss their
climatic implications in terms of the temporal evolution of northeastern tropical
Pacific SSTs and the evolution of the Mexican monsoon.


California heat waves - The Baja connection

Alexander Gershunov and Dan Cayan

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
E-mail: sasha@ucsd.edu


Summertime heat waves in the California region vary from event to event in
their day and nighttime temperature expressions. Various factors including
timing, synoptic circulation and humidity determine the magnitude (i.e. intensity,
duration and spatial extent) of any particular event. Most of the great California
heat waves can be classified into primarily daytime or nighttime events
depending on whether atmospheric conditions are dry or humid. A rash of
nighttime-accentuated events in the last decade was punctuated by an
unusually intense case in July 2006, which was the largest heat wave on record
(1948–2006). Although daytime temperatures during the July 2006 event were
comparable to those in some prior great heat waves, the duration of the event
was exceptionally long and its nighttime temperatures were unprecedented. Its
astonishing magnitude was caused by a combination of factors, the most
unusual of which was a very early and intense moisture anomaly advected into
the region by a weaker heat wave circulation that preceded the development of
the main event. Generally, there is a positive trend in heat wave activity over the
entire region that is expressed more strongly and clearly in nighttime rather than
daytime temperature extremes. Daytime heat wave activity has been
intensifying more rapidly over the elevated interior compared to the lowland
valleys. The intensification of nighttime heat wave activity since 2000 appears to
be part of a longer-term smooth and monotonically increasing trend that is fully
consistent with the observed overall warming trend in minimum temperatures.
Circulations associated with great regional heat waves advect hot air from the
south. This air can be dry or moist, depending on whether an appropriately
positioned moisture source is available, causing heat waves to be expressed
preferentially during day or night. A particular source is a marine region west of
Baja California that has been experiencing significant sea surface warming and
atmospheric moistening. The correlation between heat wave occurrences over
California state and anomalously warm sea surface temperatures (SST) in the
region west of Baja California is intriguing because the SST warming there
appears to be part of a global pattern of SST warming during the last six


Climate forecasting and applications at IRI

Lisa Goddard
International Research Institute for Climate & Society/Columbia University


This talk outlines the IRI’s approach to probabilistic climate forecasting,

primarily on the seasonal-to-interannual timescale, and how that has been
shaped by the needs of climate risk management. The evolution of the climate
system is inherently probabilistic. IRI prediction research focuses much effort on
estimating the uncertainty in predictions of the future climate. The better
quantified the uncertainty in climate forecasts, the more reliable the forecasts
will be, and hence the more potential value the information has. Uncertainty in
seasonal forecasts can arise both from model errors, which one wishes to
minimize, and from the uncertainty inherent in the climate system, which one
wishes to capture faithfully. Proper identification and treatment of errors,
together with the use of multiple models, can greatly reduce the impact of model
error on forecast uncertainty. Emphasized in the talk will be a new approach in
development at the IRI to minimize error in the boundary-forced component of
the climate variability (i.e. in the ensemble mean or model 'signal'). Our
approach involves both correction of systematic spatial biases and localized
conditional exceedance probabilities (CEPs). CEPs define the probability of the
observed climate exceeding the forecast given the value of the forecast. The
CEPs can be used to re-center an ensemble distribution, and thus redefine the
probabilities of predefined events. This allows us to isolate better the
contribution of biases in model signal (i.e. ensemble mean) from biases in
model noise (i.e. ensemble spread), providing diagnostic information for model
evaluation and recalibration information for forecasting. Minimizing model
biases allows for much more reliable and flexible probabilistic forecasts, as
desired by decision makers in climate risk management, from malaria early
warning to water resource managers to agricultural insurance markets.
Demonstration of estimated potential predictability, improvements in seasonal
forecast skill, and an example of this forecast product for the summer outlook
will be shown specifically for southwestern US and northwestern Mexico. In the
final section of the presentation, some general material will be presented on
providing probabilistic climate information on longer timescales.


Seasonal hydrologic forecasting and climate change

Michael Dettinger
E-mail: mddettin@usgs.gov



Northwestern Mexico hydrological drought predictability:

influences and effects

Francisco Munoz-Arriola1, Chunmei. Zhu1, Andrea Ray2, and Dennis P.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington,
Seattle, WA 98195. 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, 325
Broadway, Boulder, CA 80303-3328
E-mail: fmunoz@u.washington.edu


The skill of seasonal hydrological forecasts is mostly associated with hydrologic

initial conditions, of which soil moisture is the primary contributor in Mexico. This
is especially the case for drought forecasts. We use the University of
Washington West-wide Seasonal Hydrological Forecast System to evaluate the
ability to forecast agricultural (soil moisture) and hydrological (runoff) drought
recovery over Mexico, with particular emphasis on the NAMS region of
Northwestern Mexico. To do so, we analyze the distribution of runoff and soil
moisture in various hydroclimatic domains of Mexico including the Mexican
Plateau, Southeast, Central, Pacific, and Northwestern Mexico through
comparisons of observed streamflows with ensemble streamflow hindcasts
based on the Ensemble Streamflow Prediction (ESP) method. We focus in
particular on the skill, and factors that control the skill, of hydrologic forecasts
during past drought events, including 2003 and 2007 droughts in Sonora and
Baja California, respectively. Among the scientific questions we address are
whether, and to what extent, mid-summer drought in central Mexico affects the
evolution of larger drought events over Northwestern Mexico, and to what
extent conditions in Northwestern Mexico affect predictability of recovery from
these larger drought events.


Use of the combined Pacific variability mode for climate

prediction in western North America

Christopher L. Castro1, Stephen Bieda1, and Francina Dominguez2

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, 2Department of Hydrology, University of
E-mail: castro@atmo.arizona.edu


Climate in western North America significantly varies with sea surface

temperature conditions in the Pacific. The most coherent patterns of variability
tend to occur when the interannual and interdecadal variability of Pacific SSTs
are in phase. This is true in both the cool and warm seasons, even though the
teleconnections and spatial patterns of precipitation anomalies are very different
for each respective period. The Combined Pacific Variability Mode (CPVM,
Castro et al. 2007), which incorporates interannual and interdecadal variability
in Pacific SSTs via a rotated EOF analysis, has demonstrated success in a
diagnostic analysis of the North American monsoon. In this study, it is assessed
whether the CPVM also has utility as a climate predictor for subsequent rainfall
anomalies in western North America. The standardized precipitation index
(SPI) at various timescales is computed using PRISM data for the period 1895-
present. The SPI is then related to the CPVM for various seasonal forecast
lead times.


Intra seasonal prediction of tropical cyclone formation in the

Eastern North Pacific

Arthur V. Douglas
Creighton University
E-mail: sonora@creighton.edu


Tropical cyclone formation in the eastern Tropical Pacific is sensitive to SST

anomalies in both the East Pacific and the Caribbean. A see-saw affect is
favored when one ocean basin is warmer than the other and this appears to
strongly modulate annual storm totals. The positioning of the east Pacific
Doldrum Trough relative to the equator and the strength of cross-equatorial flow
from the Southern Hemisphere appear to strongly modulate the potential for
tropical cyclone development on shorter time scales. A month-by-month
analysis of these variables indicates that early season and late season storm
formation is strongly related to the heat content of the equator prior to the
initiation of strong cross equatorial surges from the south (tied to a strengthened
South Pacific High). Mid season cyclone formation is less dependent on the
heat content of the equatorial east Pacific. A new web based index of east
Pacific cross equatorial flow has been developed to provide an early warning
system for predicting strong surge events in the east Pacific that may lead to
cyclone formation south of Mexico.


Evolution of the 2006-08 El Niño/Southern Oscillation cycle

Michael J. McPhaden
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL/NOAA)
E-mail: Michael.J.Mcphaden@noaa.gov



Objective evaluation of monthly forecasts by SMN for 16

months of 2006-2008

Michel Rosengaus
National Meteorological Service, National Water Commission, Mexico


The National Meteoroliogical Service of Mexico (SMN) has been producing

monthly climatological forecasts since before January 2000. The methodology it
uses was developed under WMO consulting by Dr. Arthur Douglas from
Creighton University. The output is a set of national (Mexico) monthly
forecasted rainfall depths for the next few months, with an horizon of at least
three months. It is an "analog years" or "selective climatology" scheme. In this
paper an objective evaluation of performance of this scheme for all the
forecasts made for 16 months, from the end of 2006 to the beginning of 2008, is
presented. The evaluation is done in the framework, not of the climatology used
for its development, but a climatology of 40 years (1961-2000) containing
almost all available data interpolated on a 0.2 by 0.2 degrees grid. For each
node on the grid, the criteria used is:
a) if forecasted value falls on the same climatological tercile as reality then
account +1
b) if forecasted value falls one tercile away from reality tercile then account 0
c) if forecast value falls two terciles away from reality tercile then account -1

The final performance grade is the average of the 4542 nodes on the Mexican
territory. As a reference, a "pure climatology" forecast is also evaluated, with a
grading system which equates it with the expected performance of a random
node by node forecast on a random node by node reality (no ability at all). The
results show that, even when the performance grades are not spectacular, they
are consistently better than pure climatology. The results are shown in a
graphical form which allows a very intuitive judging of the obtained
performance, by expressing both forecast and reality in climatological tercile
maps, and then maps of regions with nodal grades of +1, 0 (zero) and -1. A
similar procedure is followed for the reference "pure climatology" forecast.
Therefore, not only is the national performance graded, but also the
geographical distribution of such performance is presented. A qualitative
judgement of performance for northwest Mexico is shown, with similar
performance as for the rest of the country. Qualitative evaluation (not
presented) of climatological forecasts by CPC/NOAA and IRI/U of Columbia
show that the SMN methodology beats the first one along the US-Mexico border
and the second one over Mexican territory.


From 3:45 to 5:30 PM

Short discussion talks on Seasonal Climate Outlooks


Daily trends and diurnal weather cycles at the tropical treeline

in the North American monsoon region

Franco Biondi
DendroLab, Department of Geography, University of Nevada, Reno, USA Chair
of Forest Ecology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland
E-mail: franco.biondi@gmail.com


High elevation atmospheric processes in the North American Monsoon region

were investigated using half hour weather data collected from May 22nd, 2001
to November 1st, 2007 at Nevado de Colima, Mexico (19°35' N, 103°37' W,
3760 m a.s.l.). After expanding on temporal changes, which were first described
by Biondi et al. 2005, I investigated diurnal weather cycles (both by month and
by season) using the entire period of record. During the monsoon, precipitation
falls mostly in the afternoon (from 12:00 to 20:00), with a peak around 17:00.
Barometric pressure follows a semi-diurnal wave pattern in all months, with
highs at 11:00-12:00 and 23:00-24:00; lows are at 5:00-6:00 and 17:00-18:00.
This 12-hour wavelength is found all over the world, but it is intensified over the
tropics and the low latitudes. Barometric pressure is higher during the wet
season (because of warmer temperatures), and the afternoon low coincides
with the summer diurnal precipitation peak. The diurnal pressure waves
correspond to changes in wind speed, but turbulence does not drive the
changes in pressure. The amplitude of the atmospheric wave is greater in the
dry season (~1.7 hPa) than in the wet season (~1.5 hPa), in contrast to what
was observed at high elevations in the Alps. The diurnal cycle of air
temperature shows maxima during the spring, a increased cloudiness during
the summer wet season reduces incoming short wave radiation and its direct
outcome, maximum air temperature. The dry season is characterized by greater
excursions in air temperature, since the interval between maxima and minima is
larger at all hours of the day. Soil temperature (especially the minima) is higher
during the wet season, and shows an afternoon peak, most likely related to
precipitation. Both minimum and maximum soil temperatures are at their lowest
level around noon. Atmospheric vapor and vapor pressure deficit follow
opposite patterns, as expected according to the season and the diurnal cycle of
precipitation. These observations of tropical treeline climate provide a unique
baseline for future comparisons, are a clear example of the value of permanent
plots in the portion of the American Cordillera that is affected by the North
American Monsoon system, and contribute filling a data gap in both tropical and
treeline environments. From the uncovered patterns and processes, it also
follows that better understanding of weather and climate processes is needed
for both forecasting and backcasting of regional and global changes in monsoon
systems across multiple timescales


ENSO impacts on daily rainfalls of Los Altos de Sinaloa region

in Northwestern Mexico

Luis Brito Castillo

Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste SC, Unidad Sonora,
Campus Guaymas.
E-mail: lbrito04@cibnor.mx


Los Altos de Sinaloa is a mountain region confined between the 50 m height

above sea level and the mountain ranges, toward the limits of Sinaloa State.
Most of the population inhabited in this region lack basic hydraulic infrastructure
and the bulk of the roads accessing the region are not paved. Sixty thousand
farmers are dedicated to the breeding of 1.6×106 bovines and the farming of
650×103 hectares of non-irrigated land. Therefore, water availability in this
region is dependent of the high seasonal variability of rains that predominantly
fall in summer. Southward of the region, the month of maximum precipitation
(MMP) occurs in August, while northward, in the highest parts of the mountains
the MMP occurs in July, something unexpected if we consider that summer
rains in northwestern Mexico commonly move from south to north as the
monsoon develops, so an opposite behavior of the occurrence of the MMP
would be expected. Causes of this phenomenon have been discussed in
previous meetings and three hypotheses have been proposed. Frequent
storms, with abundant rains that develop at the end of July and through the
August at latitudes of Nayarit, and the rains that move from the south to the
north, as monsoon develops, seem to be the cause of this anomalous behavior.
One important consideration to take into account is the effect of ENSO events
on these supplementary rains. Using daily precipitation anomalies, i.e. the
difference between daily rainfall and its correspondent daily long-term mean, of
stations with more than 40 yrs of data in northwestern Mexico, and averaging
the anomalies, per day of El Niño and La Niña years between 1940 and 2004, it
is shown that El Niño and La Niña modes depict an opposite daily rainfall
distribution. El Niño and la Niña modes were retained separately after applying
a Varimax Rotated Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis to daily rainfall
anomaly series. Differences in intraseasonal variations between Nayarit and
Sinaloa regional modes clearly demonstrate that the frequent storms are not
only confined to the south at latitudes of Nayarit but also are affected by ENSO
events. This result indicates that Los Altos de Sinaloa region is not benefited by
these supplementary rains.


The role of the land-sea thermal contrast in the interannual

modulation of the North American Monsoon

Cuauhtémoc Turrent and Tereza Cavazos

Departamento de Oceanografía Física, CICESE-Ensenda
E-mail: cturrent@cicese.mx


The thermal contrast between the ocean and continent that is present at the
initial stage of the North American Monsoon is analyzed as a principal driving
mechanism for monsoon interannual variability. The vertically integrated
(surface to 100 mb) moisture flux convergence averaged over the core
monsoon region during the period June 15-30, derived from North American
Regional Reanalysis (NARR) daily fields for the period 1979-2006, is proposed
as an index for the initial monsoon intensity. The correlation of this index with
other key NARR fields is used to propose an objective quantification of the land-
sea thermal contrast associated to the monsoon. A dynamic connection
between the thermal contrast and the initial monsoon intensity is proposed. It
consists of a directly proportional relation between the thermal contrast, the
surface pressure gradient along the Gulf of California, and the ensuing low level
moisture transport (below 850 mb, originating over the southern Gulf of
California and eastern tropical Pacific) and precipitation in the core region.


Impacts of ocean-atmosphere interactions and climate

change on the North American monsoon

Ruth Cerezo-Mota and Myles Allen

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, University of Oxford
E-mail: cerezo@atm.ox.ac.uk


The North American Monsoon (NAM) is a regional scale convective

phenomenon that affects not only the northwest portion of Mexico but
also the southwest United States (Stensrud et al, 1997). It contributes to
60-80% of the annual precipitation of the NAM core region (Douglas, et
al, 1993). Agricultural practices are traditionally linked to the annual cycle
while the regular warm and moist, and cool and dry phases of the
monsoon seem to be ideal for the agricultural societies. Small variations
in the rainfall timing and quantity could mean low crop yield, while too
much rainfall may produce devastating floods (Webster et al, 1998). Two
of the main crop producers in Mexico are located within the NAM region,
therefore an appropriate seasonal forecast of the onset and intensity of
the NAM is of great a priority for the region.

In this work we implemented the PRECIS (Providing Regional Climate for

Impact Studies) model within the NAM region. PRECIS is a regional
atmospheric and land surface model. After one year of simulation we
found that PRECIS captures reasonable well the mesoscale circulation of
the region in comparison with other high resolution models. The work in
progress is a long simulation (10 years) for an analysis of the occurrence
of extreme events. To find a key for monsoon rainfall predictability, we
are proposing to implement the Frankignoul et al. (1998) analysis in the
Gulf of California. This approach exploits the fact that the atmosphere
has different 'memory' from the ocean and this may allow us to identify
air-sea interactions of the model.


Convectively coupled tropical waves across the North

American monsoon region during boreal summer

Yolande Serra1 and George N. Kiladis2

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. 2ESRL/NOAA, Boulder, CO.
E-mail: serra@atmo.washington.edu


This study examines statistical relationships between two convectively coupled

tropical wave modes and their interactions with summertime circulations over
Mexico and the Southwest United States. Both westward propagating easterly
waves and the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) have been linked to North
American Monsoon (NAM) precipitation events. There is also evidence that the
low level westerly phase of the MJO enhances easterly wave activity in the
Caribbean and tropical east Pacific. By regressing 23 years of NCEP/NCAR
reanalyses of wind, air temperature, and humidity onto observed OLR
anomalies filtered for easterly wave and MJO activity, we are able to determine
the statistical structure of these waves in the Pan American region. Wave
interactions are also investigated. These results are placed in the context of the
lifecycle of the NAM to better understand how the wave structures and activity
might affect monsoon precipitation as the monsoon develops and decays, as
well as intraseasonal monsoon variability.


Has Mexico warmed in recent decades?

F. Graef, E. G. Pavia, and J. Reyes

Department of Physical Oceanography, CICESE
E-mail: fgraef@cicese.mx


The annual mean air temperature (AMT) of 1391 stations throughout Mexico
during the last few decades has been analyzed in order to look for a potential
signal of climate change. The linear trends (m) of each station’s AMT time
series were obtained, and their individual statistical significance was tested by
posing the null hypothesis m = 0, i.e. that there was no trend. The length of the
time series (n) considered for this test was the n-effective that takes into
account the fact that consecutive values of AMT have non-zero correlation. The
null hypothesis was rejected in 128 cases (91 with positive trend, m > 0, and 37
with negative trend, m < 0), or approximately 9 % of the stations; in these cases
the sign of m was found not to be associated with the station’s altitude. In this
talk emphasis is made in northwestern Mexico.


Regionalized precipitation scenarios for the XXI Century in

Northwest Mexico and Southwestern US Using the REA method

Martín J. Montero-Martínez and José L. Pérez-López

Instituto Mexicano de Teconología del Agua (IMTA)
E-mail: mmontero@tlaloc.imta.mx


During the last year we have been working with the implementation of the
“Reliability Ensemble Averaging” (REA) method (Giorgi and Mearns, 2002) to
regionalize precipitation data coming from the 23 coupled GCMs that
participated for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report.

As a first approximation, a simple ensemble averaging method is commonly

used to estimate the mean precipitation anomalies (with respect to a given
historic period) in the future. In this work, however, we applied what we think is
a much better approximation because the REA method takes into account two
‘‘reliability criteria’’: the performance of the model in reproducing present-day
climate (‘‘model performance’’ criterion) and the convergence of the simulated
changes across models (‘‘model convergence’’ criterion). This method is
applied to regionalize and calculate mean seasonal precipitation changes for
the SRES-A1B and SRES-A2 in the whole 2010-2098 period compared with the
1961-1990 climatology. We presented results for Northwestern Mexico and
Southwestern US and compare our results with that of the simple ensemble
averaging method.


The impacts of climate change and variability on vater

resources in a semi arid region in Mexico: The Rio Yaqui-basin

Andrea Muñoz-Hernández and Alex S. Mayer

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological
E-mail: amunoz@mtu.edu, asmayer@mtu.edu


This work consists of determining the impacts of climate change and variability
on precipitation and reservoir storage in the Yaqui Basin. The basin is classified
as a semi-arid climate with an average rainfall of 527 mm per year. It consists of
roughly 72,000 square kilometers of land, primarily in northwest Mexico. The
water to meet all demands comes from three reservoirs in series constructed
along the river. Agriculture is the main user of water in the basin.

A rainfall-runoff model has been created and calibrated and integrated into a
node link network that includes reservoir storage and extractions by users.
Precipitation data was interpolated on a monthly basis over a thirty three year
time span with data collected from weather stations throughout the basin.
Distributions of static runoff coefficients were generated based on published
regional maps (INEGI). Using GIS the product of the precipitation and runoff
coefficients were determined and a monthly hypothetical runoff was calculated.
This monthly runoff data was merged into three seasons. This GIS based
seasonal runoff was further adjusted by calibrating it against thirty three years of
seasonal inflow data collected at each reservoir. The calibration is done by
fitting a linear model relating the GIS based runoff with the reservoir inflows.

Three different approaches for generating future precipitation scenarios based

on a 30-year planning period were applied. The first approach involved
repeating the 1970-2000 historical precipitation record. The second approach
involved time-series analysis of the 1970-2000 record, developing a temporally-
correlated precipitation model, and then applying the precipitation model for
future predictions. The third approach involves adjusting the 1970-200
historical precipitation using outputs from global climate models. Several climate
model-climate scenarios were included in this approach. The sensitivity of
available reservoir storage to each of the future precipitation scenarios is
assessed. The effects of various sources of uncertainty, such as uncertainty in
rainfall-runoff model predictions, also are assessed.


Impact of climate variability and change of the pelagic

ecosystem and fisheries of the California Current
Tim Baumgartner1, Bertha Lavaniegos1, Guillermo Auad2, Kevin Hill3,
Reginaldo Durazo4, and Gilberto Gaxiola1
División de Oceanología, CICESE, Ensenada, B.C. México
Climate Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA USA
Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries, NOAA, La Jolla, CA USA
Facultad de Ciencia, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada, B.C., México
E-mail: tbaumgar@cicese.mx


The California Current (CC) forms the eastern limb of the large-scale circulation
of the North Pacific Ocean gyre. The CC flows equatorward along the west
coast of the United States and Mexico carrying relatively cool, low salinity
Subarctic Water down to the tip of the peninsula of Baja California. The
organization and structure of the pelagic ecosystem of the California Current is
strongly linked to the ocean dynamics of the upper 200 m and subject to
interannual to decadal fluctuations and longer term change in the ocean-
atmosphere climate over the North Pacific.

This presentation examines the links between interannual and decadal

climate variability and the changes in the state of the pelagic ecosystem in the
California Current off Baja California using data from the past 10 years of ocean
monitoring by the IMECOCAL program. Our motivation is to summarize our
current understanding of the relation between climate and ecosystem response
needed to develop a general seasonal outlook for the California Current
ecosystem in the Mexico-U.S. border region. The relationship of the climate and
ecosystem changes to fisheries is exemplified by the change in distribution and
productivity of the sardine population associated with climate.


Adaptive Water Resources Management Under Climatic

Uncertainty in Western North America
Christopher A. Scott1, Robert G. Varady2, Nicolás Pineda Pablos3, Ashley Coles4,
Anne Browning-Aiken5, Graciela de Raga6, Martín Montero7, Margaret Wilder8,
Barbara J. Morehouse9, Gregg Garfin10, Andrea Ray11, David Gochis12
E-mail: cascott@email.arizona.edu


In arid regions, water is the resource that mediates the transmission of climatic
risk to vulnerable populations in urban areas dependent on limited water
supplies, and farmers relying on irrigation. Interactions between urban and rural
stresses generate additional vulnerabilities particularly under drought
conditions. Examples include water transfers from agriculture to cities, peri-
urban wastewater irrigation, and nonpotable reuse of effluent. This paper
reports on a binational research initiative, supported by the Inter-American
Institute for Global Change Research, to disseminate a bilingual climate-
diagnostic product to users in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern
United States in a manner that improves policymakers’ capacity to draw
connections among rapidly shifting weather conditions, long-term climatic
variations, and continuously changing societal conditions with the goal of
improving critical water-management decisions. Two important and potentially
predictable aspects of variability in the region are tropical cyclones and the
North American Monsoon. Precipitation from both phenomena can be a
significant part of the annual water budget, and thus is significant for water
supply and drought conditions. Both phenomena can cause flooding that
emergency managers must respond to. The paper profiles fundamental risks
faced in urban and rural areas of the region, advances policy engagement, and
by addressing the impacts of climate variability on both urban and rural areas,
potentially contributes to decreasing conflicts over water. Linking assessment of
risks with introduction of a tailored decision tool advances scientific
understanding of how best to integrate climate science with decisionmaking.

Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and Dept. Geography & Regional Development, Univ. of Arizona,
Tucson, AZ, USA.
Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.
Colegio de Sonora, Hermosillo, Son., Mexico
Dept. Geography & Regional Development, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
Instituto Mexicano de la Tecnología del Agua, Jiutepec, Mor., Mexico
Center for Latin American Studies and Dept. Geography & Regional Development, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ,
Institute for the Study of Planet Earth and Dept. Geography & Regional Development, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson,
Institute for the Study of Planet Earth and Dept. Geography & Regional Development, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson,
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA.
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA.


Seasonal and interannual relations between precipitation,

soil moisture and vegetation dynamics in the North American
monsoon region

Luis A. Mendez-Barroso1, Enrique R. Vivoni1, Christopher J. Watts2

and Julio C. Rodríguez2
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Minining,
and Technology Socorro, New Mexico, USA. 2Departamento de Física, Universidad de
Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
E-mail: vivoni@nmt.edu


The North American monsoon region in northwestern Mexico and the

southwestern United States experiences a seasonal hydroclimatological shift
that promotes vegetation greening throughout a number of different
ecosystems. In this study, we analyze the vegetation response to seasonal
precipitation pulses using remote sensing observations (16-day MODIS
composites) for the period 2004 to 2006. Our study is focused on a large region
in northern Sonora occupied by the Río Sonora river basin, where we have
installed and maintained a long term network of precipitation and soil moisture
observations. Results show that strong seasonal and interannual differences
exist in several metrics derived from the Normalized Difference Vegetation
Index (NDVI) observations in a range of ecosystems. For example, growing
season integrated NDVI showed strong correlation with accumulated rainfall in
the region, with 2006 exhibiting the most intense vegetation response due to the
higher monsoon rainfall. Based on time stability analysis of the remotely sensed
data, we identified spatial patterns characterizing each of the major ecosystems
and their degree of coupling with precipitation pulses. We identify the
subtropical scrubland as the most dynamic ecosystem with the highest
greenness-precipitation ratio, indicating its efficient use of monsoon rainfall for
biomass production. Finally, we relate vegetation dynamics across several
ecosystems and elevation gradients to the regional precipitation and soil
moisture observations. Our study points to the strong coupling between
precipitation, soil moisture and vegetation dynamics in the North American
monsoon region and suggests that improved climate forecasts would be useful
in hydrologic and ecological applications.


Climate change, agriculture, and water in the Mexicali Valley,


Alfonso A. Cortez Lara

Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF), Baja California
E-mail: acortez@colef.mx


Irrigation water availability and management as well as agriculture productivity

in the Mexicali Valley is directly linked to regional climate changes. During the
last two decades, changes in local and regional weather conditions observed
mainly in its high variability in temperatures and rainfall ranges and spatial
distribution, have been affecting agriculture which uses most land and 85% of
water resources available for this region. Such impacts, although still not well
analyzed, are variable and clearly differentiated. Major spring/summer crops like
cotton have gotten benefits whereas fall/winter crops like wheat has been
negatively affected and these new conditions bring about modifications in local
water availability within a context of regional water scarcity at the basin level. All
this occurs at the time growing demands in highly water consumer crops like
alfalfa is inducing irrigation water management problems.


Regiones vulnerables del Golfo de California ante el

incremento del nivel medio del mar

Sara Cecilia Díaz Castro, Alberto Aragón N., Alfredo Arreola L., Luis Brito
C, Sara Burrola S., Arturo Cruz F., Patricia González Z, Marlene Manzano,
Genaro Martínez, Gustavo Padilla A, César Salinas Z., y David Urias L.
CIBNOR. E-mail: sdiaz04@cibnor.mx


En respuesta al calentamiento global, se espera que el nivel del mar (NMM) se

incremente debido a la expansión térmica de sus aguas al calentarse, así como
por el deshielo de glaciares y de las capas de hielo polares. La magnitud del
impacto de un aumento en el NMM puede variar de un lugar a otro,
dependiendo de diversos factores como cambio de otros aspectos climáticos,
morfología de la costa y modificaciones humanas. Las implicaciones pueden
ser de varios tipos: a) geofísicas (la erosión determina el retroceso y la
modificación de la línea de la costa) b) biológicas (por el impacto ecológico
debido al reemplazo del hábitat original y la migración de condiciones
ambientales a través de series sucesionales correspondientes a ambientes con
mayor influencia marina) y c) socioeconómicas (ya que en las zonas costeras
se concentra gran parte de la población del mundo). El objetivo del presente
estudio es identificar y evaluar las regiones costeras vulnerables al incremento
del NMM en el Golfo de California. Para ello, se identificaron 13 regiones
potencialmente vulnerables y se procedió a evaluar las variables físicas,
biológicas y socioeconómicas, para identificar las de mayor vulnerabilidad. Las
tres regiones más vulnerables dónde se está haciendo el análisis más fino son:
El Alto Golfo, Mazatlán y Los Cabos.

Due to the global climate change, such a warming is likely to raise the sea level
by expanding ocean water, and melting glaciers and portions of the Greenland
Ice Sheet. The magnitude of impacts will vary from place-to-place and will
depend on a variety of factors, including the magnitude of relative sea-level rise
and other aspects of climate change, coastal morphology and human
modifications. Sea level rise has different implications: a) geophysical (erosion
determines the retraction and modifications of the coast line), b) biological (for
the ecological impact due to the original habitat replacement, and the migration
of the environmental condition through successional series corresponding to
environments with higher marine influence. And c) socioeconomics (great part
of the human population is concentrated in coastal zones). The object of this
study is to identify and to evaluate the vulnerability of costal regions due to a
sea level rise in the Gulf of California. To do that, we identify 13 regions with
potential vulnerability, where we evaluate physical, biological and socio-
economic variables to identify the most vulnerable regions. We are conducting
a detailed analysis in the three most vulnerable regions: Alto Golfo, Mazatlán
and Los Cabos.