The authors wish to acknowledge Dennis Keyser for his excellent support in incorporating the SALLJEX data into the assimilation systems and the efforts of the anonymous reviewers and the associate editor who greatly helped improve the manuscript. The first author wishes to acknowledge the support of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and NCEP for providing the necessary conditions to develop this study and to funding agencies from Brazil (CNPq Grant 481400/2004-04 and CAPES Grant 3219-04-6). SALLJEX was funded by NOAA/OGP, NSF (ATM0106776), and funding agencies from Brazil (FAPESP Grant 01/13816-1) and Argentina (ANPCYT 07-06671, UBA 055). This work was partially supported by the NOAA Office of Global Programs Pan American Climate Studies (PACS) under Cooperative Agreement NA17EC1483 with the University of Maryland Cooperative Institute for Climate Science (CICS).
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