Meteorology:  Instead of using the traditional space-time Fourier analysis of filtered specific atmospheric fields, a normal-mode decomposition method was used to analyze South American intraseasonal variability (ISV). Intraseasonal variability was examined separately in the 30–90-day band, 20–30-day band, and 10–20-day band. The most characteristic structure in the intraseasonal time-scale, in the three bands, was the dipole-like convection between the South Atlantic Convergence Zone (SACZ) and the central-east South America (CESA) region. In the 30–90-day band, the convective and circulation patterns were modulated by the large-scale Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). In the 20–30-day and 10–20-day bands, the convection structures were primarily controlled by extratropical Rossby wave trains. The normal-mode decomposition of reanalysis data based on 30–90-day, 20–30-day, and 10–20-day ISV showed that the tropospheric circulation and CESA–SACZ convective structure observed over South America were dominated by rotational modes (i.e., Rossby waves, mixed Rossby-gravity waves). A considerable portion of the 30–90-day ISV was also associated with the inertio-gravity (IGW) modes (e.g., Kelvin waves), mainly prevailing during the austral rainy season. The proposed decomposition methodology demonstrated that a realistic circulation can be reproduced, giving a powerful tool for diagnosing and studying the dynamics of waves and the interactions between them in terms of their ability to provide causal accounts of the features seen in observations.

Intraseasonal variability regression patterns

Decomposition of the 10–20-day South American intraseasonal variability (ISV) regression patterns of upper-level (200-hPa) winds (vectors) and streamfunction (shading) at lag 0. (a,d) are rotational components rotational (i.e. Rossby; (b,e) are inertio-gravity wave components ; and (c,f) are the total fields. Regressions patterns in the left (right) column corresponds to the October–April (May–September) period.