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29 December 2010

Latin America Update #9

A dipole across South America is becoming more defined as very wet conditions in Colombia and Panama contrasts sharply with dry conditions across Brazil. Rainfall has been sufficient for the past month where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil all come together, but most of the surrounding region remain dry.

Flooding and landslides remain a constant threat in Colombia as the country, especially near the border with Panama continues to get hammered with heavy rainfall that is responsible for causing flooding and landslides. The results have been injuries, damage to infrastructure, washing away of crops and most concerning, fatalities. This area is in sharp contrast to a location just to it's southeast in Brazil. Southern Amazonas state and nearby areas of other states have roughly the same deficit that Panama and Colombia have a surplus. A dipole has likely set itself up here. At the moment it appears that what is partially driving this arrangement is the cold water (associated with La Nina) in the Pacific, contrasting with warm water in the Caribbean.

Below the equator in South America there is very little rainfall, and season-long deficits continue to grow. The exception is far southern Brazil and nearby portions of Paraguay and Argentina. Southern Peru has also done reasonably well this season. Bolivia, much of Brazil, western Paraguay and most of the fertile parts of Argentina are dry. Southern Chile and nearby portions of Tierra Del Fuego are also rather dry, even for this time of year.

Seasonal conditions continue in Central America. A little dry in most of Mexico, although along with the California flooding and landslides, areas around Tijuana in Baja California have been soaked. In the Guatemalan highlands temperatures are dropping down, possibly with some localized frosts and freezes, possibly some minor damage to (very) late season crops.

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