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Hydrological Cycles in the Tropics

PI: Hailan Wang
Institution: University of Maryland at Baltimore County
For this project, we propose to analyze, and to compare with available observations, the late 19th - 20th century simulations carried out by the NCAR CCSM3, GISS ModelE and the GFDL coupled GCMs. The goal is to document and understand the changes in the hydrological cycle of the atmosphere in the tropics simulated by the three coupled models. Given the broad perspectives associated with the atmospheric hydrological cycle, our work will focus on two aspects that build upon our prior researches. The first aspect of the proposed work is on the trends and variability of precipitation and atmospheric temperature over the tropical land and oceans. We will analyze the trends and variability of tropical precipitation, surface-air temperature, sea-surface temperature, soil moisture, 200-hPa geopotential height and large-scale overturning circulation simulated by the GCMs for the entire 140-year simulations. Observations in the past 50 years or so will be utilized to validate the GCM simulations. Discrepancies between GCM simulations and observations will be identified and the causes will be explored. The second aspect is on the warm rain processes over the tropical ocean. We will analyze cloudiness, precipitation, and water vapor residence time (ratio of water vapor to precipitation) to document the recycling of water vapor, warm and cold rainfall efficiency, and their dependence on SSTs simulated by the three coupled models. Results from the 140-year simulations of the three models will be inter-compared to discern the commonality and discrepancy among the models. Recent observations, especially those from the satellite era, e.g., TRMM, GPCP, TOVS and ISCCP, will be used to validate and comprehend the GCM results.
  • Lau K.-M., S. Shen, K.-M. Kim and H. Wang, 2006: A Multi-model Study of the 20th Century Simulations of Sahel Drought from the 1970s to 1990s. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, D0711, doi:10.1029/2005JD006281. Abstract. Edit.
  • Wang H. and K.-M. Lau, 2006: Atmospheric Hydrological Cycle in the Tropics in Twentieth Century Coupled Climate Simulations. International Journal of Climatology, 26, 655-678. Abstract. Edit.

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