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Article

An Empirical Seasonal Rainfall Forecasting Model for the Northeast Region of Brazil

1
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Federal University of Alagoas, Maceió 57072-900, Brazil
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
3
National Institute for Space Research, Cachoeira Paulista, São Paulo 12630-000, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Letizia Lusito
Water 2021, 13(12), 1613; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121613
Received: 12 May 2021 / Revised: 28 May 2021 / Accepted: 1 June 2021 / Published: 8 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
The Northeast region of Brazil (NEB) is characterized by large climate variability that causes extreme and long unseasonal wet and dry periods. Despite significant model developments to improve seasonal forecasting for the NEB, the achievement of a satisfactory accuracy often remains a challenge, and forecasting methods aimed at reducing uncertainties regarding future climate are needed. In this work, we implement and assess the performance of an empirical model (EmpM) based on a decomposition of historical data into dominant modes of precipitation and seasonal forecast applied to the NEB domain. We analyzed the model’s performance for the February-March-April quarter and compared its results with forecasts based on data from the North American Multi-model Ensemble (NMME) project for the same period. We found that the first three leading precipitation modes obtained by empirical orthogonal functions (EOF) explained most of the rainfall variability for the season of interest. Thereby, this study focuses on them for the forecast evaluations. A teleconnection analysis shows that most of the variability in precipitation comes from sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in various areas of the Pacific and the tropical Atlantic. The modes exhibit different spatial patterns across the NEB, with the first being concentrated in the northern half of the region and presenting remarkable associations with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM), both linked to the latitudinal migration of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). As for the second mode, the correlations with oceanic regions and its loading pattern point to the influence of the incursion of frontal systems in the southern NEB. The time series of the third mode implies the influence of a lower frequency mode of variability, probably related to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). The teleconnection patterns found in the analysis allowed for a reliable forecast of the time series of each mode, which, combined, result in the final rainfall prediction outputted by the model. Overall, the EmpM outperformed the post-processed NMME for most of the NEB, except for some areas along the northern region, where the NMME showed superiority. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate prediction; empirical model; North American Multi-Model Ensemble; forecast quality assessment climate prediction; empirical model; North American Multi-Model Ensemble; forecast quality assessment
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MDPI and ACS Style

da Rocha Júnior, R.L.; Cavalcante Pinto, D.D.; dos Santos Silva, F.D.; Gomes, H.B.; Barros Gomes, H.; Costa, R.L.; Santos Pereira, M.P.; Peña, M.; dos Santos Coelho, C.A.; Herdies, D.L. An Empirical Seasonal Rainfall Forecasting Model for the Northeast Region of Brazil. Water 2021, 13, 1613. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121613

AMA Style

da Rocha Júnior RL, Cavalcante Pinto DD, dos Santos Silva FD, Gomes HB, Barros Gomes H, Costa RL, Santos Pereira MP, Peña M, dos Santos Coelho CA, Herdies DL. An Empirical Seasonal Rainfall Forecasting Model for the Northeast Region of Brazil. Water. 2021; 13(12):1613. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121613

Chicago/Turabian Style

da Rocha Júnior, Rodrigo L., David D. Cavalcante Pinto, Fabrício D. dos Santos Silva, Heliofábio B. Gomes, Helber Barros Gomes, Rafaela L. Costa, Marcos P. Santos Pereira, Malaquías Peña, Caio A. dos Santos Coelho, and Dirceu L. Herdies 2021. "An Empirical Seasonal Rainfall Forecasting Model for the Northeast Region of Brazil" Water 13, no. 12: 1613. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121613

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