Variability of extreme precipitation in coastal river basins of the southern Mexican Pacific region

Nancy Pérez-Morga, Thomas Kretzschmar, Tereza Cavazos, Stephen V. Smith, Francisco Munoz-Arriola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Extreme wet and dry years (± 1 standard deviation, respectively), as well as the top 95 percentile (P95) of daily precipitation events, derived from tropical cyclone (TC) and non- tropical cyclone (NTC) rainfall, were analyzed in coastal river basins in Southern Oaxaca, Mexico (Río Verde, Río Tehuantepec, and the Southern Coast). The study is based on daily precipitation records from 47 quality-controlled stations for the 1961 to 1990 period and TC data for the Eastern Tropical Pacific (EPAC). The aim of this study was to evaluate extreme (dry and wet) trends in the annual contribution of daily P95 precipitation events and to determine the relationship of summer precipitation with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacifical Decadal Oscillation (PDO). A regionalization based on a rotated principal component analysis (PCA) was used to produce four precipitation regions in the coastal river basins. A significant negative correlation (significance at the 95% level) was only found with ONI in rainfall Region 3, nearest to the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Wet years, mainly linked to TC-derived P95 precipitation events, were associated with SST anomalies (≥ -0.6°C) similar to weak La Niña and Neutral cool conditions, while dry years were associated with SST positive anomalies similar to Neutral warm conditions (≤ -0.5°C). The largest contribution of extreme P95 precipitation derived from TCs to the annual precipitation was observed in Region 3. A significant upward trend in the contribution of TC-derived precipitation to the annual precipitation was found only in Region 1, low Río Verde.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalGeofisica Internacional
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Dry years
  • Enso
  • Extreme rainfall events
  • MSD
  • PDO
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Energy


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