The relationships between rainfall over Uruguay (in southeastern South America) and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon are investigated. Long time series of data from a dense network of rainfall stations are analyzed using an empirical method based on that proposed by Ropelewski and Halpert. The spatial patterns of the relationships and their temporal variability for the entire region and four subregions are studied in detail.
It is found that years with El Niño events tend to have higher than average rainfall, especially from November to the next January. Further, years with high values of the Southern Oscillation index (501) tend to have lower than average rainfall, especially from October through December. These findings are in general agreement with previous studies. It is also found that the period from March through July tends to have higher than average rainfall after El Niño years and lower than average rainfall after high-SOI years. For the southern part of Uruguay, the wet anomalies during El Niño events are relatively weak, but the dry anomalies during high-SOI events are significant for the two periods identified. The dry anomalies disappear, and even revere, during January and February after high-SOI years. This feature does not have a symmetric counterpart during January and February after El Niño years.
This study, therefore, provides both a verification and an extension of other studies that have emphasized southeastern South America but have used data from only a very few stations in the region.