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Revista de Matemática Teoría y Aplicaciones

versión impresa ISSN 1409-2433


SAENZ S., Fernán; ALFARO, Erick J.  y  HIDALGO, Hugo G.. Weather types for the seasonal transitions in Central America. Rev. Mat [online]. 2024, vol.31, n.1, pp.27-56. ISSN 1409-2433.

Unsupervised learning techniques are employed to study the relationship between atmospheric circulation and precipitation over Central America and its surrounding areas. Specifically, the clustering algorithm k-means++ is applied to three coarse-grained datasets from ERA-interim reanalysis that are the candidates for representing the atmospheric state vector, each candidate contains its full temporal variability. Datasets are composed of: a) wind fields at 925, 800 and 200 hPa, b) same as “a)” plus convective available potential energy and c) same as “a)” plus total column water vapor. Clustering metrics, namely the variance ratio criterion, the silhouette criterion and the mean squared error, are computed to quantify clustering quality. Clusters are interpreted as weather types, recurrent configurations of the atmospheric state vector associated with observable weather states. The correct number of clusters for each dataset is determined with a Monte Carlo test of normality, to assure cluster existence. The main objective is to obtain a set of weather types containing elements that characterize the transition from and to the rainy season over the Pacific side of Central America as well as other elements of the seasonal cycle of regional precipitation, such as the Mid-Summer Drought. Besides the statistical metrics, in order to select between candidate datasets and plausible number of clusters, focus is given to the temporal characteristics of the clusters. Existing literature does not provide a set of weather types suitable to analyze seasonal transitions and the differences in the mechanisms associated with rainfall maxima.

Palabras clave : Central America; precipitation; weather types; cluster analysis; seasonal climate variability.

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