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Water 2017, 9(9), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9090652

Spatio-Temporal Patterns of the 2010–2015 Extreme Hydrological Drought across the Central Andes, Argentina

1
Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales (IANIGLA), CCT-Mendoza/Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Av. Ruiz Leal s/n, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina
2
Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Ambientales, Universidad Juan Agustín Maza, Av. Acceso Este, Lateral Sur 2245, 5521 Mendoza, Argentina
3
Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Intendente Güiraldes 2160, C1428EGA Buenos Aires, Argentina
4
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Godoy Cruz 2290, C1425FQB Buenos Aires, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paulo Barbosa and Jürgen Vogt
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 19 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Monitoring, Forecasting, and Risk Assessment)
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Abstract

During the period 2010–2015, the semi-arid Central Andes in Argentina (CAA) experienced one of the most severe and long-lasting hydrological droughts on record. Since the snowmelt is the most important source of water, the reduced snowfall over the mountains propagated the drought signal through the streamflows in the adjacent foothills east of the Andes ranges. Motivated by the widespread impacts on the socio-economic activities in the region, this study aims to characterize the recent hydrological drought in terms of streamflow deficits. Based on streamflow data from 20 basins, we used the standardized streamflow index (SSI) to characterize hydrological droughts during the period 1971–2016. We found that the regional extent of the 2010–2015 hydrological drought was limited to the basins located north of 38° S, with mean duration of 67 months and maximum drought severity exhibiting a heterogeneous pattern in terms of spatial distribution and time of occurrence. The drought event reached extreme conditions in 14 of the 15 basins in the CAA, being record-breaking drought in six of the basins. This condition was likely driven by a cooling in the tropical Pacific Ocean resembling La Niña conditions, which generated a decrease in snowfall over the Andes due to suppressed frontal activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrological drought; semi-arid region; streamflow; Central Andes; drought; hydroclimatic variability; water resources; standardized streamflow index; Argentina; snowmelt hydrological drought; semi-arid region; streamflow; Central Andes; drought; hydroclimatic variability; water resources; standardized streamflow index; Argentina; snowmelt
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Rivera, J.A.; Penalba, O.C.; Villalba, R.; Araneo, D.C. Spatio-Temporal Patterns of the 2010–2015 Extreme Hydrological Drought across the Central Andes, Argentina. Water 2017, 9, 652.

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