Hydro-Climate Symposium

Oral

397927 - Using predictive and global climate models to improve understanding of droughts in southern Peru

Wednesday, June 6
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Lake Superior B
Co-Authors: Paul Block, Madison, WI – University of Wisconsin - Madison; Michael Notaro, Madison, WI – University of Wisconsin-Madison; Steve Vavrus, Madison, WI – University of Wisconsin-Madison; Shu Wu, Madison, WI – University of Wisconsin-Madison; Eric Mortensen, Madison, WI – University of Wisconsin - Madison; Jose DePierola, Lima, Peru – Southern Peru Copper Corporation

The coastal area of southern Peru is located within the extremely arid Atacama Desert. The few streams in this region convey runoff to the Pacific from the high Altiplano to the east, where precipitation occurs mainly from January through March in response to moisture transported from the Amazon basin. The Altiplano precipitation is highly variable from year to year and often fails, producing droughts. Agriculture and important industries such as mining depend on this uncertain water supply. Previous studies have documented the correlation between drought conditions and Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature variations characterized by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The work reported here was developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Southern Peru Copper Corporation to improve season-ahead prediction of January-February-March precipitation and the risk of multi-year droughts in the Altiplano. Three approaches to drought prediction were developed: a principal component regression model using a range of potential climate indicators, a principal component tendency model that considered changes in several environmental variables over time, and a linear inverse model. All modeling approaches produced improved drought predictions compared to a correlation based only on the ENSO-associated Niño 3.4 index. Additionally, an ensemble of multiple historical simulations from the Community Earth System Model was found to appropriately characterize precipitation in the Altiplano and was then used evaluate the probability of multiple-year droughts, supplementing the relatively short record available in observed local data. This work is now being used in forecasts and in water supply risk evaluation in Southern Peru.

Robert John. Montgomery, PE, D.WRE, M. ASCE

Principal
Montgomery Associates Resource Solutions

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