2002 Annual

Tuesday, 15 January 2002
Using a parallel climate model to investigate hydrological feedbacks in the climate system
Marcia L. Branstetter, University of Texas, Austin, TX; and J. S. Famiglietti and W. M. Washington
Using the results of a 200-year simulation of the NCAR/DOE PCM land-ocean-atmosphere-ice-river transport model, oceanic processes were shown to be sensitive to the continental runoff flux. Salinity changes in the ocean due to this flux caused a shift in the magnitude of the oceanic heat transport. The characteristcs of the continental runoff flux also had an effect on the patterns of precipitation and corresponding feedbacks to the generation of surface runoff resulting from that precipitation. January convective precipitation was 1-4 mm/day less in a large area of the Amazon basin and the northern region of the Congo basin when the continental runoff flux was included in the simulation. This translated into a reduction in the corresponding runoff in both of these basins. For models to realistically represent the global climate system, accurate representations of river discharge, of the ocean's response to this freshwater input, and of the resulting feedbacks to the land surface are essential to meaningful simulations of the global climate system, particularly when investigating the effects of global change.

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