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Publication | 19 February 2021

New canicula index to study its impact on Agriculture in the Central American Dry Corridor and its connection with El Niño

The canicula is the reduction of rainfall during the rainy season, in July and August, which can mainly affect basic grains during the crop flowering and grain filling phases. This natural climatic event manifests from the south of Mexico to the Central American Dry Corridor and ends in the Dry Arc of Panama. It affects the Pacific zone of Nicaragua with higher frequency and intensity, followed by areas in Honduras, Panama (provinces of Los Santos and Herrera, and some areas of the Darien province) and part of the Dry Corridor of Guatemala (Chiquimula and Zacapa). The intensity and accentuation of the canicula in Central America is more correlated with the version of Modoki El Niño than with the version of Canonical El Niño. The Modoki El Niño version has increased its frequency of occurrence in the last decades, presenting favourable conditions for an increase in the frequency of occurrence of extended caniculas in the region. The objective of the index is to evaluate the reduction of rainfall during the rainy season which, in years of extreme canicula, causes considerable losses in annual crops.