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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-54
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2018-54
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Jul 2018

Research article | 26 Jul 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

Tracking the Choco jet since the 19th Century by using historical wind direction measurements

David Gallego1, Ricardo García-Herrera2,3, Francisco de Paula Gómez-Delgado1, Paulina Ordoñez-Perez4, and Pedro Ribera1 David Gallego et al.
  • 1Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, 41013, Spain
  • 2Departamento de Física de la Tierra y Astrofísica, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, 28040, Spain
  • 3IGEO, Instituto de Geociencias (CSIC, UCM), Madrid, 28040, Spain
  • 4Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 04510, Mexico

Abstract. In this paper, we demonstrate that the methodology recently developed to quantify the strength of monsoonal circulations by using historical wind direction observations can be applied to compute a new index for the intensity of the Choco jet. This is a low-level westerly jet observed from May to November whose core is located at 5ºN and 80ºW that modulates the moisture transport from the Pacific into Central America and northern South America. The Choco jet is profoundly related to the dynamics of the Intertropical Convergence Zone in the eastern equatorial Pacific and it is responsible of up to 30% of the total precipitation in these areas. We have been able to produce an index for this jet starting in the 19th century, adding almost a century of data to previous comparable indices. Our results indicate that the seasonal distribution of the precipitation in Central America has changed along the 20th century as a response to the changes in the Choco jet, with has diminished (increased) its strength in July (September). Additionally, we have found that the relation between the Choco jet and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation has been remarkably stable along the entire 20th century, a finding particularly significant because the stability of this relation is usually the basis of the hydrologic reconstructions in northern South America.

David Gallego et al.
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David Gallego et al.
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During the last years, a new method for reconstructing the strength of the monsoonal systems has been developed. This new method uses old wind observations taken aboard sailing ships. In our research we have generalised this method and we have been able to produce the first instrumental reconstruction starting in the 19th century of a low level wind current called Chocó-jet, which is the main responsible of the moisture transport from the Pacific onto Central America and northern South America.
During the last years, a new method for reconstructing the strength of the monsoonal systems has...
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