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Atacama rainfall

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Quite surprised that the unusual rainfall and flooding last week in possibly the world's driest place hasn't received more attention, a quick overview of which can be found here - http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2944

Appropriately the article links the synoptic conditions with the Antarctic warmth at around the same time, though long term there would be expected to be a higher chance of precipitation with El Nino conditions which may be taking hold now. Data from the rather good Chilean met office site - Dirección Meteorológica de Chile shows that precipitation has differed from normal so far this year with very dry conditions in the wetter south as well as the desert rain - http://www.meteochile.gob.cl/inf_precipitacion.php

 

With regards to the Atacama rain they have compiled some data from the north of the country which shows it to be relatively localised (though it is a large area) with 4 of 18 stations listed recording a record March daily rainfall total  But it is significant due to how extremely dry the area is normally -  Iquique broke their March record since 1911 with a mere 0.3 mm!! - http://www.meteochile.gob.cl/js/PRECIPITACIONES_EN_EL_NORTE.pdf

 

This makes the reasonably wet near-inch rainfall at Antofagasta of 23.6 mm, which is the wettest March day since records began in 1919 seem almost diluvial, but it is a mind-numbingly dry location. Sure, they had a trace of rain in January but the last measurable rainfall was 1 mm over a couple of days last September. As for March the last trace of rain was in 2012 but the rainguage last came into action with 0.7 mm on March 31st 1992!!

http://164.77.222.61/climatologia/php/menuProductos.php

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