Observing and Understanding the Variability of Water in Weather and Climate


A proposed new metric for quantifying the climatic effects of human-caused alterations to the global water cycle

Roger A. Pielke Sr., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO; and T. N. Chase

Extensive recent work has documented the major role of human-caused landscape change on altering the earth’s climate system (Kabat 2003). Based on work such as Chase et al. (2000), the effect of landscape change has been shown to teleconnect globally, and to alter the hydrologic system thousands of miles from where the landscape change occurred.

Recently, a new metric has been introduced to quantify the spatial redistribution of energy that results from regional perturbations such as land-use change (Pielke et al. 2002). This metric will be discussed and results shown to indicate a globally-averaged redistribution of heat that is larger than the globally-averaged increase of radiative heating associated with the anthropogenic input of carbon dioxide. That land-use change and other interacting effects are not yet incorporated into climate change studies such as the IPCC (2001) and the U.S. National Assessment (http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/nacc/) may help explain the failure of the GCM-generated climate change scenarios to replicate the observed tropospheric temperature changes from 1980 to the present.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (72K)

Session 3, Weather and climate modeling of water in all its phases
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 1:30 PM-5:30 PM

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