The climate of the coast and fog zone in the Tarapaca Region, Atacama Desert, Chile

Cereceda P.; Larraín, H.; Osses P.; Farias M.; Egana, I


In the Atacama Desert, the narrow littoral plain and the adjacent mountain range have a unique climate. This area is locally called the "coastal desert with abundant cloudiness", and extends from the coastline up to an elevation of 1000 m. The climate is designated as being BWn according to Köppen's Climate Classification as adapted for Chile. In the original classification the acronym (Bn) is used for foggy environments. Toward the east a "normal desert" climate (BW) is found. This is known as one of the most extreme deserts of the world. In the BWn areas there are meteorological differences between low and high elevation zones. The climate of the coastal plains and the mountains is described in this paper in order to show that there is an area where the climate differs from those classified as BWn and BW in the Chilean Climate Classification. This area is located between 650 and 1200 m a.s.l. and contains several fog oases or lomas vegetation, rich in biodiversity and endemism. The weather is warmer near sea level, with an annual average temperature of 18 °C. At high elevation sites like Alto Patache, the temperature decreases at a rate of 0.7 °C for every 100-m increase in altitude. The average annual minimum temperature often approaches 1 °C in winter, while the mean annual temperature range is significant (8.3 °C in Los Cóndores). The mean monthly relative humidity in Alto Patache is over 80%, except during the summer months. During autumn, winter and spring high elevation fog is present in the study area at altitudes ranging from 650 m up to 1060 m, giving annual water yields of 0.8 to 7 L m- 2 day- 1. If vegetation is used as an indicator, the foggy zone lies between 650 m a.s.l. and 1200 m a.s.l. About 70% of the mountain range experiences the foggy climate, as opposed to the coastal plains that are characterized by a cloudy climate. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Título según WOS: The climate of the coast and fog zone in the Tarapaca Region, Atacama Desert, Chile
Título según SCOPUS: The climate of the coast and fog zone in the Tarapacá Region, Atacama Desert, Chile
Título de la Revista: ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH
Volumen: 87
Número: 03-abr
Editorial: Elsevier Science Inc.
Fecha de publicación: 2008
Página de inicio: 301
Página final: 311
Idioma: English