Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 20 of 84 items for

  • Author or Editor: Paul Dirmeyer x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Paul A. Dirmeyer

Abstract

The role of the land surface in contributing to the potential predictability of the boreal summer climate is investigated with a coupled land–atmosphere climate model. Ensemble simulations for 1982–99 have been conducted with specified observed sea surface temperatures (SSTs). Several treatments of the land surface are investigated: climatological land surface initialization, realistic initialization of soil wetness, and a series of experiments where downward surface fluxes over land are replaced with observed proxies of precipitation, shortwave, and longwave radiation. Without flux replacement the model exhibits strong drift in soil wetness and both systematic errors and poor simulation of interannual variations of precipitation and near-surface temperature. With flux replacement there are large improvements in simulation of both spatial patterns and interannual variability of precipitation and surface temperature. The land surface apparently does contribute, through positive feedback with the atmosphere, to regional climate anomalies. However, because of the sizeable noise component in precipitation, the strong land–atmosphere feedback may not translate into reliable enhancements in predictability, particularly in years of weak anomalies in the land surface initial conditions at the start of boreal summer.

Full access
Oreste Reale
,
Paul Dirmeyer
, and
Adam Schlosser

Abstract

This is the second of a two-part article investigating the impact of variations of land surface evaporability on the interannual variability of precipitation. The first goal of this part is to analyze the relationship between the atmospheric internal variability and the evaporative forcings. The hypothesis that the sum of ocean- and atmosphere-induced variabilities can be linearly amplified by the land variability is critically revisited and generally found not applicable to the climate model used and the numerical experiments conducted. A set of parameters to evaluate the departure from the linear behavior is defined, quantifying the impact of the different forcings over the total variability. Some areas of the world (e.g., the monsoon region, the continental United States, and southeastern Africa), where the impact of internal atmospheric dynamics on precipitation variability is small compared to the impact of the evaporative forcings, are localized. Over these areas, the variability of precipitation might be more predictable, given a good knowledge of the surface boundary forcings.

In the second half of this article the time structure of the land forcing is analyzed, to quantify the contributions of the interannual variations, diurnal cycle, and high-frequency (i.e., synoptic scale) variations and compare them with the contribution of the oceanic forcing. The general conclusion is that interannual variability of both sea surface temperature and land evaporability is very important to the overall variability of precipitation over the Tropics. Over land in the subtropics and midlatitudes equatorward of the polar front there are also substantial feedbacks at the interannual scale. The impact of synoptic-scale variations of land evaporability is generally smaller, except for some areas in the midlatitudes near the polar front, particularly continental Eurasia and parts of North America. Finally, there is no general, widespread evidence showing the importance of the diurnal cycle of evaporability to the interannual variability of precipitation. However, strong regional differences are detected, and some tropical areas, like the Congo basin, where the diurnal cycle does contribute to the interannual variability of precipitation are outlined.

Full access
Xiang Gao
and
Paul A. Dirmeyer

Abstract

Multimodel ensemble forecasting has been shown to offer a systematic improvement in the skill of climate prediction with atmosphere and ocean circulation models. However, little such work has been done for the land surface component, an important lower boundary for weather and climate forecast models. In this study, the authors examine and evaluate several methods of combining individual global soil wetness products from uncoupled land surface model calculations and coupled land–atmosphere model reanalyses to produce an ensemble analysis. Analyses are verified against observations from the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank (GSMDB) with skill measured by correlation coefficient and root-mean-square error (RMSE). A preliminary transferability study is conducted as well for investigating the feasibility of transferring ensemble regression parameters within two specific regions (Illinois and east-central China) and between these two regions of similar climate and land use. The results show that when sufficient validation data are available, one can use a seasonally dependent linear regression to improve the skill of any individual model simulation of soil wetness. Further improvements in skill can be achieved with more sophisticated ensembling methods, such as the regression-adjusted multimodel ensemble mean analysis and regression-adjusted multimodel analysis. However, all the ensembling schemes involving regression usually do not help improve the skill scores as far as the simulation of anomalies of soil wetness is concerned. In the absence of calibration data, the simple arithmetic ensemble mean across multiple soil wetness products generally does as well or better than the best individual model at any location in the representation of both soil wetness and its anomaly. Transferability from one subset of stations from the Illinois or east-central China dataset to another gives satisfactory results. However, results are poor when transferring regression weights between different regions, even with similar climate regimes and land cover. Such an exercise helps us to understand better the virtues and limitations of various ensembling techniques and enables progress toward creating an optimum, model-independent analysis from a practical point of view.

Full access
Paul A. Dirmeyer
and
Subhadeep Halder

Abstract

Retrospective forecasts from CFSv2 are evaluated in terms of three elements of land–atmosphere coupling at subseasonal to seasonal time scales: sensitivity of the atmosphere to variations in land surface states, the magnitude of variability of land states and fluxes, and the memory or persistence of land surface anomalies. The Northern Hemisphere spring and summer seasons are considered for the period 1982–2009. Ensembles are constructed from all available pairings of initial land and atmosphere/ocean states taken from the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis at the start of April, May, and June among the 28 years, so that the effect of initial land states on the evolving forecasts can be assessed. Finally, improvement and continuance of forecast skill derived from accurate land surface initialization is related to the three coupling elements. It is found that soil moisture memory is the most broadly important element for significant improvement of realistic land initialization on forecast skill. However, coupling strength manifested through the elements of sensitivity and variability are necessary to realize the potential predictability provided by memory of initial land surface anomalies. Even though there is clear responsiveness of surface heat fluxes, near-surface temperature, humidity, and daytime boundary layer development to variations in soil moisture over much of the globe, precipitation in CFSv2 is unresponsive. Failure to realize potential predictability from land surface states could be due to unfavorable atmospheric stability or circulation states; poor quality of what is considered realistic soil moisture analyses; and errors in the land surface model, atmospheric model, or their coupled interaction.

Full access
Paul A. Dirmeyer
and
Subhadeep Halder

Abstract

When initial soil moisture is perturbed among ensemble members in the operational NWS global forecast model, surface latent and sensible fluxes are immediately affected much more strongly, systematically, and over a greater area than conventional land–atmosphere coupling metrics suggest. Flux perturbations are likewise transmitted to the atmospheric boundary layer more formidably than climatology-based metrics would indicate. Impacts are not limited to the traditional land–atmosphere coupling hot spots, but extend over nearly all ice-free land areas of the globe. Key to isolating this effect is that initial atmospheric states are identical among quantities correlated, pinpointing soil moisture and snow cover. A consequence of this high sensitivity is that significant positive impacts of realistic land surface initialization on the skill of deterministic near-surface temperature and humidity forecasts are also immediate and nearly universal during boreal spring and summer (the period investigated) and persist for at least 3 days over most land areas. Land surface initialization may be more broadly important for weather forecasts than previously realized, as the research focus historically has been on subseasonal-to-seasonal time scales. This study attempts to bridge the gap between climate studies with their associated coupling assessments and weather forecast time scales. Furthermore, errors in land surface initialization and shortcomings in the parameterization of atmospheric processes sensitive to surface fluxes may have greater consequences than previously recognized, the latter exemplified by the lack of impact on precipitation forecasts even though the simulation of boundary layer development is shown to be greatly improved with realistic soil moisture initialization.

Full access
Liang Chen
and
Paul A. Dirmeyer

Abstract

This study investigates the impacts of historical land-cover change on summer afternoon precipitation over North America using the Community Earth System Model. Using land–atmosphere coupling metrics, this study examines the sensitivity of afternoon atmospheric conditions to morning land surface states and fluxes that are altered by land-cover changes before and since 1850. The deforestation in the eastern United States prior to 1850 leads to increased latent but decreased sensible heat flux during the morning and a reduction in afternoon precipitation over the southern regions of the U.S. East Coast. The agricultural expansion over the Great Plains since preindustrial times shows similar effects on surface fluxes but results in a significant widespread increase in precipitation over the crop area. The coupling metrics exhibit a strong positive soil moisture–precipitation relationship over the Great Plains. Impacts of land-cover change on precipitation manifest through changes in rainfall frequency, rather than intensity, that are largely controlled by the distribution of CAPE as the trigger of convective precipitation. However, deforestation and later reforestation over the eastern United States, where coupling properties are different than the Great Plains, do not have as dominant an effect on afternoon precipitation. Additionally, precipitation over parts of the U.S. Southwest decreases in this model during the earlier period of East Coast deforestation, owing to changes in the large-scale circulation over North America driven by land-use changes prior to 1850.

Full access
David O. Benson
and
Paul A. Dirmeyer

Abstract

Increased heat-wave frequency across the United States has led to the need for improved predictability of heat-wave events. A detailed understanding of land–atmosphere interactions and the relationship between soil moisture and temperature extremes could provide useful information for prediction. This study identifies, for many locations, a threshold of soil moisture below which there is an increase in the sensitivity of atmospheric temperature to declining soil moisture. This shift to a hypersensitive regime causes the atmosphere to be more susceptible to atmospherically driven heat-wave conditions. The soil moisture breakpoint where the regime shift occurs is estimated using segmented regression applied to observations and reanalysis data. It is shown that as the soil gets drier, there is a concomitant change in the rate of decrease in latent heat flux and increase in sensible heat flux leading to a strong positive feedback of increased air temperature near the surface, which further dries out the soil. Central, southwestern, and southeastern parts of the United States seem to have regions of clear regime shifts, while the eastern part of the United States generally does not get dry enough to reveal significant breakpoints. Sensible heat flux is seen to be a primary driver of this increased temperature sensitivity aided by the drop in latent heat flux. An investigation of flux tower sites verifies the breakpoint–flux relationships found in reanalysis data. Accurate estimation of these breakpoints can contribute to improved heat-wave prediction.

Full access
David O. Benson
and
Paul A. Dirmeyer

Abstract

Thresholds of soil moisture exist below which the atmosphere becomes hypersensitive to land surface drying, inducing thermal feedbacks that can exacerbate heatwaves. Realistic representation of threshold transitions in forecast models could improve extreme heat predictability and understanding of the role of land–atmosphere coupling. This study evaluates the performance of several forecast models from the Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) and several prototype versions of the Unified Forecast System (UFS) in their representation of threshold transitions by validation against reanalysis data. A metric of skill (true skill score) is applied to soil moisture breakpoint values, which mark the transition to heatwave hypersensitivity for drying soils. Forecast models have poor skill at being initialized on the correct side of the breakpoint, but show improvement when normalized to account for deficiencies in their soil moisture climatologies. Regionally, models performed best in the U.S. Northwest and worst in the Southwest. They effectively capture the tendency of western regions to spend more summer days in the hypersensitive regime than the eastern United States. Models represent well extreme heat as a consequence of atmospheric initial state for the first week of the forecast, but struggle to represent the soil moisture feedback regime. Forecast models generally perform better at extreme heat prediction when they are already dry and in the hypersensitive regime, even when erroneously so, implying that errors or biases exist in model parameterizations. Nevertheless, composite analysis shows encouraging model performance of the “hit” category, suggesting that an improvement in soil moisture initialization could further improve extreme heat forecast skill.

Restricted access
Liang Chen
and
Paul A. Dirmeyer

ABSTRACT

Recent studies have shown the impacts of historical land-use land-cover changes (i.e., deforestation) on hot temperature extremes; contradictory temperature responses have been found between studies using observations and climate models. However, different characterizations of surface temperature are sometimes used in the assessments: land surface skin temperature T s is more commonly used in observation-based studies while near-surface air temperature T 2m is more often used in model-based studies. The inconsistent use of temperature variables is not inconsequential, and the relationship between deforestation and various temperature changes can be entangled, which complicates comparisons between observations and model simulations. In this study, the responses in the diurnal cycle of summertime T s and T 2m to deforestation are investigated using the Community Earth System Model. For the daily maximum, opposite responses are found in T s and T 2m. Due to decreased surface roughness after deforestation, the heat at the land surface cannot be efficiently dissipated into the air, leading to a warmer surface but cooler air. For the daily minimum, strong warming is found in T 2m, which exceeds daytime cooling and leads to overall warming in daily mean temperatures. After comparing several climate models, we find that the models agree in daytime land surface (T s ) warming, but different turbulent transfer characteristics produce discrepancies in T 2m. Our work highlights the need to investigate the diurnal cycles of temperature responses carefully in land-cover change studies. Furthermore, consistent consideration of temperature variables should be applied in future comparisons involving observations and climate models.

Full access
Subhadeep Halder
and
Paul A. Dirmeyer

Abstract

This observationally based study demonstrates the importance of the delayed hydrological response of snow cover and snowmelt over the Eurasian region and Tibet for variability of Indian summer monsoon rainfall during the first two months after onset. Using snow cover fraction and snow water equivalent data during 1967–2003, it is demonstrated that, although the snow-albedo effect is prevalent over western Eurasia, the delayed hydrological effect is strong and persistent over the eastern part. Long soil moisture memory and strong sensitivity of surface fluxes to soil moisture variations over eastern Asia and Tibet provide a mechanism for soil moisture anomalies generated by anomalies in winter and spring snowfall to affect rainfall during the initial months in summer. Dry soil moisture anomalies over the eastern Eurasian region associated with anomalous heating at the surface and midtroposphere help in anchoring of an anomalous upper-tropospheric “blocking” ridge around 100°E and its persistence. This not only leads to prolonged weakening of the subtropical westerly jet but also shifts its position southward of 30°N, followed by penetration of anomalous troughs in the westerlies into the Indian region. Simultaneously, intrusion of cold and dry air from the midlatitudes can reduce the convective instability and hence rainfall over India after the onset. Such a southward shift of the jet can also significantly weaken the vertical easterly wind shear over the Indian region in summer and lead to decrease in rainfall. This delayed hydrological effect also has the potential to modulate the snow–atmosphere coupling strength for temperature and precipitation in operational forecast models through soil moisture–evaporation–precipitation feedbacks.

Full access