Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
versão impressa ISSN 0100-0683
PAULA, Gizelli Moiano de et al. Effect of El Niño/Southern Oscillation on rainfall erosivity in Santa Maria (RS). Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2010, vol.34, n.4, pp. 1315-1323. ISSN 0100-0683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832010000400028.
El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) affects the weather and climate of several locations, causing changes in the atmospheric circulation and climate variables, mainly rainfall, in all regions of Brazil. In southern Brazil, during El Niño years (the positive phase of ENSO), rainfall is often above normal whereas during La Niña years (the negative phase of ENSO), rainfall is often below normal. Some rainfall properties are affected by ENSO, such as frequency, intensity and amount. These properties are important to define erosive rainfall events. Among the methods to determine rainfall erosivity in Rio Grande do Sul State, the EI30 - erosivity index, is the most commonly used. The objective of this study was to determine and associate the EI30 erosivity index with the ENSO phenomenon for the region of Santa Maria, RS, Brazil. Daily rainfall data recorded from July 01, 1978 to July 30, 2008, collected in a standard Weather Station in Santa Maria, RS, were used. Individual erosive rainfall events were identified in the records, grouped into El Niño, La Niña and Neutral years, and the EI30 index was calculated. Rainfall events were also grouped into three patterns: Early, Intermediate and Late. Pearson correlation and regression analysis between the EI30 index and the Niño Oceanic Index (NOI) were performed. Regression was tested with the t test in order to quantify the relationship between the two variables, aiming at a possible predictability of the erosion potential of rainfall events due to abnormalities of the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) in the Pacific Ocean. Rainfall erosion potential in Santa Maria is affected by ENSO, so that a greater number of rainfall events have a higher erosion potential during El Niño and neutral years. The variability of the rainfall erosion potential is greater during Neutral years than during years with SST anomalies. The rainfall pattern is changed in years with SST anomalies, so that there is a slight increase in early rains during El Niño years and a slight decrease in late rains during La Niña years, whereas there is a decrease in rainfall events with Intermediate pattern during El Niño and La Niña years compared to Neutral years. The predictive capability of the erosion potential of rainfall events in Santa Maria based on the NOI index is weak or inexistent.
Palavras-chave : erosivity index; ENSO; erosion potential; rainfall pattern.