The central Andean west-slope rainshadow and its potential contribution to the origin of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert

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Abstract

The west slope of the central Andes exhibits a pronounced rainshadow effect. Precipitation between 15degrees and 27degreesS is dominated by summer convective activity from Amazonia, and data analysis shows that the increase in precipitation with elevation due to the rainshadow effect best fits an exponential correlation. Coupling with limited data from high elevations suggests that the correlation is accurate to 4500 m above sea level (m a.s.l.) and perhaps to 5500 m a.s.l., suggesting that increased precipitation goes unrecorded over the peaks of the western Cordillera. South of 27degreesS the precipitation is dominated by winter frontal sources and shows no well-defined relationship with elevation. The core zone of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert extends from 15 to 30degreesS at elevations from sea level to 3500 m a.s.l. Although the Atacama Desert has existed since at least 90 Ma, it is considered that the initial onset of hyper-aridity was most likely to have developed progressively with the uplift of the Andes as they reached elevations between 1000 to 2000 in a.s.l. coupled with the intensification of a cold, upwelling Peruvian Current between 15 and 10 Ma. Also apparent in the palaeogeographic record are subsequent fluctuations between (semi-) and to hyper-arid conditions that were probably largely controlled by changes in orbital and oceanic forcing. Copyright (C) 2003 Royal Meteorological Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1453-1464
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Volume23
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • precipitation
  • rainshadow
  • hyper-aridity
  • palaeoclimate Atacama Desert
  • Chile
  • SOUTH-AMERICA
  • LATE MIOCENE
  • ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION
  • NORTHERN CHILE
  • ICE CORES
  • CLIMATE
  • HISTORY
  • PACIFIC
  • PERU
  • AGE

Cite this

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title = "The central Andean west-slope rainshadow and its potential contribution to the origin of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert",
abstract = "The west slope of the central Andes exhibits a pronounced rainshadow effect. Precipitation between 15degrees and 27degreesS is dominated by summer convective activity from Amazonia, and data analysis shows that the increase in precipitation with elevation due to the rainshadow effect best fits an exponential correlation. Coupling with limited data from high elevations suggests that the correlation is accurate to 4500 m above sea level (m a.s.l.) and perhaps to 5500 m a.s.l., suggesting that increased precipitation goes unrecorded over the peaks of the western Cordillera. South of 27degreesS the precipitation is dominated by winter frontal sources and shows no well-defined relationship with elevation. The core zone of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert extends from 15 to 30degreesS at elevations from sea level to 3500 m a.s.l. Although the Atacama Desert has existed since at least 90 Ma, it is considered that the initial onset of hyper-aridity was most likely to have developed progressively with the uplift of the Andes as they reached elevations between 1000 to 2000 in a.s.l. coupled with the intensification of a cold, upwelling Peruvian Current between 15 and 10 Ma. Also apparent in the palaeogeographic record are subsequent fluctuations between (semi-) and to hyper-arid conditions that were probably largely controlled by changes in orbital and oceanic forcing. Copyright (C) 2003 Royal Meteorological Society.",
keywords = "precipitation, rainshadow, hyper-aridity, palaeoclimate Atacama Desert, Chile, SOUTH-AMERICA, LATE MIOCENE, ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION, NORTHERN CHILE, ICE CORES, CLIMATE, HISTORY, PACIFIC, PERU, AGE",
author = "J. Houston and Hartley, {Adrian John}",
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T1 - The central Andean west-slope rainshadow and its potential contribution to the origin of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert

AU - Houston, J.

AU - Hartley, Adrian John

PY - 2003

Y1 - 2003

N2 - The west slope of the central Andes exhibits a pronounced rainshadow effect. Precipitation between 15degrees and 27degreesS is dominated by summer convective activity from Amazonia, and data analysis shows that the increase in precipitation with elevation due to the rainshadow effect best fits an exponential correlation. Coupling with limited data from high elevations suggests that the correlation is accurate to 4500 m above sea level (m a.s.l.) and perhaps to 5500 m a.s.l., suggesting that increased precipitation goes unrecorded over the peaks of the western Cordillera. South of 27degreesS the precipitation is dominated by winter frontal sources and shows no well-defined relationship with elevation. The core zone of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert extends from 15 to 30degreesS at elevations from sea level to 3500 m a.s.l. Although the Atacama Desert has existed since at least 90 Ma, it is considered that the initial onset of hyper-aridity was most likely to have developed progressively with the uplift of the Andes as they reached elevations between 1000 to 2000 in a.s.l. coupled with the intensification of a cold, upwelling Peruvian Current between 15 and 10 Ma. Also apparent in the palaeogeographic record are subsequent fluctuations between (semi-) and to hyper-arid conditions that were probably largely controlled by changes in orbital and oceanic forcing. Copyright (C) 2003 Royal Meteorological Society.

AB - The west slope of the central Andes exhibits a pronounced rainshadow effect. Precipitation between 15degrees and 27degreesS is dominated by summer convective activity from Amazonia, and data analysis shows that the increase in precipitation with elevation due to the rainshadow effect best fits an exponential correlation. Coupling with limited data from high elevations suggests that the correlation is accurate to 4500 m above sea level (m a.s.l.) and perhaps to 5500 m a.s.l., suggesting that increased precipitation goes unrecorded over the peaks of the western Cordillera. South of 27degreesS the precipitation is dominated by winter frontal sources and shows no well-defined relationship with elevation. The core zone of hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert extends from 15 to 30degreesS at elevations from sea level to 3500 m a.s.l. Although the Atacama Desert has existed since at least 90 Ma, it is considered that the initial onset of hyper-aridity was most likely to have developed progressively with the uplift of the Andes as they reached elevations between 1000 to 2000 in a.s.l. coupled with the intensification of a cold, upwelling Peruvian Current between 15 and 10 Ma. Also apparent in the palaeogeographic record are subsequent fluctuations between (semi-) and to hyper-arid conditions that were probably largely controlled by changes in orbital and oceanic forcing. Copyright (C) 2003 Royal Meteorological Society.

KW - precipitation

KW - rainshadow

KW - hyper-aridity

KW - palaeoclimate Atacama Desert

KW - Chile

KW - SOUTH-AMERICA

KW - LATE MIOCENE

KW - ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION

KW - NORTHERN CHILE

KW - ICE CORES

KW - CLIMATE

KW - HISTORY

KW - PACIFIC

KW - PERU

KW - AGE

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EP - 1464

JO - International Journal of Climatology

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