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Arrocha, G. (2006). Variability of Intraseasonal Precipitation Extremes Associated with ENSO in Panama. Master's thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
Abstract: Extensive analysis has been conducted over past decades showing the impacts of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on various regions throughout the world. However, these studies have not analyzed data from many stations in Panama, or they have not analyzed long periods of observations. For these reasons, they often miss climatological differences within the region induced by topography, or they do not possess enough observations to adequately study its climatology. Accordingly, the current study focuses on ENSO impacts on precipitation specific to the Isthmus of Panama. Results will be useful for agricultural and water resources planning and Panama Canal operations. Monthly total precipitation data were provided by Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica S.A., which includes 32 stations with records from 1960 to 2004. The year is split into three seasons: two wet seasons (Early and Late Wet), one dry season (Dry). The country is also divided into regions according to similarities in the stations' climatology and geographic locations. Upper and lower precipitation extremes are associated with one of the three ENSO phases (warm, cold or neutral) to estimate their percentages of occurrences. The differences between each ENSO phases' seasonal precipitation distributions are statistically examined. Statistical analyses show effects of ENSO phases that vary by season and geographical region. Cold and warm ENSO years affect the southwestern half of the country considerably during the Late Wet season. Cold ENSO phases tend to increase rainfall, and the warm phase tends to decrease it. The opposite is true for the Caribbean coast. The Dry season experiences drier conditions in warm ENSO years, and the Early Wet season does not show any statistically significant difference between ENSO years' rainfall distributions.