El Niño southern oscillation and its effect on fog oases along the Peruvian and Chilean coastal deserts

Manrique Paredes, Rosa Soledad (2011) El Niño southern oscillation and its effect on fog oases along the Peruvian and Chilean coastal deserts, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze ambientali: tutela e gestione delle risorse naturali, 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3436.
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Fog oases, locally named Lomas, are distributed in a fragmented way along the western coast of Chile and Peru (South America) between ~6°S and 30°S following an altitudinal gradient determined by a fog layer. This fragmentation has been attributed to the hyper aridity of the desert. However, periodically climatic events influence the ‘normal seasonality’ of this ecosystem through a higher than average water input that triggers plant responses (e.g. primary productivity and phenology). The impact of the climatic oscillation may vary according to the season (wet/dry). This thesis evaluates the potential effect of climate oscillations, such as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), through the analysis of vegetation of this ecosystem following different approaches: Chapters two and three show the analysis of fog oasis along the Peruvian and Chilean deserts. The objectives are: 1) to explain the floristic connection of fog oases analysing their taxa composition differences and the phylogenetic affinities among them, 2) to explore the climate variables related to ENSO which likely affect fog production, and the responses of Lomas vegetation (composition, productivity, distribution) to climate patterns during ENSO events. Chapters four and five describe a fog-oasis in southern Peru during the 2008-2010 period. The objectives are: 3) to describe and create a new vegetation map of the Lomas vegetation using remote sensing analysis supported by field survey data, and 4) to identify the vegetation change during the dry season. The first part of our results show that: 1) there are three significantly different groups of Lomas (Northern Peru, Southern Peru, and Chile) with a significant phylogenetic divergence among them. The species composition reveals a latitudinal gradient of plant assemblages. The species origin, growth-forms typologies, and geographic position also reinforce the differences among groups. 2) Contradictory results have emerged from studies of low-cloud anomalies and the fog-collection during El Niño (EN). EN increases water availability in fog oases when fog should be less frequent due to the reduction of low-clouds amount and stratocumulus. Because a minor role of fog during EN is expected, it is likely that measurements of fog-water collection during EN are considering drizzle and fog at the same time. Although recent studies on fog oases have shown some relationship with the ENSO, responses of vegetation have been largely based on descriptive data, the absence of large temporal records limit the establishment of a direct relationship with climatic oscillations. The second part of the results show that: 3) five different classes of different spectral values correspond to the main land cover of Lomas using a Vegetation Index (VI). The study case is characterised by shrubs and trees with variable cover (dense, semi-dense and open). A secondary area is covered by small shrubs where the dominant tree species is not present. The cacti area and the old terraces with open vegetation were not identified with the VI. Agriculture is present in the area. Finally, 4) contrary to the dry season of 2008 and 2009 years, a higher VI was obtained during the dry season of 2010. The VI increased up to three times their average value, showing a clear spectral signal change, which coincided with the ENSO event of that period.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Manrique Paredes, Rosa Soledad
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze della terra e dell'ambiente
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Lomas fog oases ENSO El Niño La Niña remote sensing vegetation Chile Peru deserts Atacama Sechura South America
Data di discussione
9 Maggio 2011

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