Volume 41, Issue 1 p. 513-528
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Trends and variability of precipitation extremes in the Peruvian Altiplano (1971–2013)

Adrian Huerta

Corresponding Author

Adrian Huerta

Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Peru SENAMHI, Lima, Peru

Correspondence

Adrian Huerta, SENAMHI, Jesus Maria, Cahuide Street 785, Lima, Peru.

Email: [email protected]

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Waldo Lavado-Casimiro

Waldo Lavado-Casimiro

Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Peru SENAMHI, Lima, Peru

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First published: 24 May 2020
Citations: 4

Funding information: Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung. Grant Number: IZ01Z0_147320.

Abstract

Precipitation extremes have been investigated throughout the last decades in different regions of the Andes. However, little attention has been paid to the Altiplano region (Central Andes), especially to the Peruvian Altiplano (PA) that represents a complex area and is highly vulnerable to extreme events, such as floods and droughts, driven by the strong variability of precipitation. This study focuses on the analysis of 11 extreme precipitation indices (EPIs) in the period 1971–2013. In this context, commonly used statistical trend and break analyses were applied and a false discovery procedure was used in order to reduce the number of artificial significant tests. Additionally, the relative dominance of precipitation frequency and intensity in interannual precipitation datasets was determined. Finally, the correlation between EPIs and six oceanic-atmospheric indices were analysed. The results indicate that there is no significant global trend towards wet or dry conditions in the PA, although a signal of a more slightly decrease of precipitation is presented in the Southern PA. Additionally, interannual variability of total precipitation is mainly dominated by precipitation frequency. The Central Tropical Pacific sea surface temperature plays a major role for the maximum and average length of wet periods as well as for total precipitation. This finding is particularly relevant for the southwestern PA. Our results have important implications for risk management and adaptation planning related to extreme hydrological events in the PA.