4B.6 Dissecting soil moisture-precipitation coupling

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 4:45 PM
Room 10A (Austin Convention Center)
Jiangfeng Wei, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; and P. A. Dirmeyer

The ability of soil moisture to affect precipitation (SM-P) can be dissected into the ability of soil moisture to affect evapotranspiration (ET; SM-ET) and the ability of ET to affect precipitation (ET-P). SM-ET is a local process that is relatively easy to quantify, but ET-P includes nonlocal atmospheric processes and is more complex. Here, ET-P is quantified both locally and remotely with a back-trajectory method for water vapor transport, using corrected reanalysis data. It is found that, for SM-P and ET-P, local impact is greater than that from remote for most land areas with significant local impacts. By examining the responses of the three metrics (SM-ET, ET-P, and SM-P) to climate variations over different climate regimes, we show that SM-ET is the principal factor that determines the spatial pattern and variation of SM-P. For climatologically wet regions, SM-ET and SM-P are higher during dry periods, and vice versa for climatologically dry regions. All three metrics show highest values over the transitional zones. This study is a step forward by providing a method to quantifying soil moisture-precipitation coupling and its components using observational data, and it will facilitate the comparisons between models and observations.

Supplementary URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL053038/abstract

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner