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Keywords:

  • North Atlantic oscillation;
  • El Niño;
  • La Niña;
  • Caribbean;
  • Barbados;
  • rainfall variability

Abstract

The North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale seesawing movement of atmospheric mass between the North Atlantic subtropical high-pressure system and the Icelandic low-pressure system. This phenomenon has been acknowledged as the dominant mode of winter climate variability in the temperate latitudes of the North Atlantic region. In this study, an attempt is made to identify the effect of the NAO on the rainfall pattern in the Eastern Caribbean, based on data from a representative station in that subregion.

Rainfall data taken from a southeastern coastal station in Barbados are used to explore the relationship between the behavior of the NAO (using standardized monthly indexes) and the rainfall pattern at that station. In the period considered (1950–2004), the NAO is shown to have a very significant effect on the monthly variability of rainfall in Barbados during both El Niño and La Niña periods. Copyright © 2006 Royal Meteorological Society