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Topographic Enhancement of Tropical Cyclone Precipitation (TCP) in Eastern Mexico
  • Laiyin Zhu,
  • Pascual Aguilera
Laiyin Zhu
Western Michigan University, Western Michigan University

Corresponding Author:laiyin.zhu@wmich.edu

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Pascual Aguilera
Western Michigan University, Western Michigan University
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Tropical Cyclone Precipitation (TCP) is one of the major triggers of flash flooding and landslide in eastern Mexico. The interactions between the topography of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the TCP of storms from the Gulf of Mexico are still poorly understood. We apply multiple statistical techniques to a 99 year daily TCP record and an elevation data with high spatial resolution. Correlation analysis for the whole dataset is dominated by the strong inland-to-ocean gradient of both TCP and topography. Clusters defined by grids’ distances to the coast show significant positive correlations between TCP variables and topographic complexity variables (Range, Standard Deviation, and Slope). The quantile analysis demonstrates that the most extreme TCPs are more likely to locate in grids with higher amounts of topographic complexity (Range and Standard Deviation) than the median and the trivial TCPs. The Random Forest (RF) model is an excellent tool to disentangle complex relationships between TCP and topography. The models show that the grid’s location and aspect of the slope aspect are the two most important variables that affect the TCP statistics. TCP in eastern Mexico is sensitive within two zones: (1) Low lying coastal regions with lower elevation and less topographic complexity. (2) The mountainous region with higher elevation and topographic complexity, especially with the slope facing the windward direction to the Gulf. All results support that the topography in eastern Mexico has an enhancing effect on the TCP.
16 Apr 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres volume 126 issue 7. 10.1029/2021JD034604