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Peter K. Snyder

Abstract

Numerous studies have identified the regional-scale climate response to tropical deforestation through changes to water, energy, and momentum fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere. There has been little research, however, on the role of tropical deforestation on the global climate. Previous studies have focused on the climate response in the extratropics with little analysis of the mechanisms responsible for propagating the signal out of the tropics. A climate modeling study is presented of the physical processes that are important in transmitting a deforestation signal out of the tropics to the Northern Hemisphere extratropics in boreal winter. Using the Community Climate System Model, version 3 Integrated Biosphere Simulator (CCM3–IBIS) climate model and by imposing an exaggerated land surface forcing of complete tropical forest removal, the thermodynamic and dynamical atmospheric response is evaluated regionally within the tropics, globally as the climate signal propagates to the Northern Hemisphere, and then regionally in Eurasia where land–atmosphere feedbacks contribute to amplifying the climate signal and warming the surface and lower troposphere by 1–4 K. Model results indicate that removal of the tropical forests causes weakening of deep tropical convection that excites a Rossby wave train emanating northeastward away from the South American continent. Changes in European storm-track activity cause an intensification and northward shift in the Ferrel cell that leads to anomalous adiabatic warming over a broad region of Eurasia. Regional-scale land–atmosphere feedbacks are found to amplify the warming. While hypothetical, this approach illustrates the atmospheric mechanisms linking the tropics with Eurasia that may otherwise not be detectable with more realistic land-use change simulations.

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Keith J. Harding and Peter K. Snyder

Abstract

The rapid expansion of irrigation in the Great Plains since World War II has resulted in significant water table declines, threatening the long-term sustainability of the Ogallala Aquifer. As discussed in Part I of this paper, the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) was modified to simulate the effects of irrigation at subgrid scales. Simulations of nine April–October periods (three drought, three normal, and three pluvial) over the Great Plains were completed to assess the full impact of irrigation on the water budget. Averaged over all simulated years, irrigation over the Great Plains contributes to May–September evapotranspiration increases of approximately 4% and precipitation increases of 1%, with localized increases of up to 20%. Results from these WRF simulations are used along with a backward trajectory analysis to identify where evapotranspiration from irrigated fields falls as precipitation (i.e., irrigation-induced precipitation) and how irrigation impacts precipitation recycling. On average, only 15.8% of evapotranspiration from irrigated fields falls as precipitation over the Great Plains, resulting in 5.11 mm of May–September irrigation-induced precipitation and contributing to 6.71 mm of recycled precipitation. Reductions in nonrecycled precipitation suggest that irrigation reduces precipitation of moisture advected into the region. The heaviest irrigation-induced precipitation is coincident with simulated and observed precipitation increases, suggesting that observed precipitation increases in north-central Nebraska are strongly related to evapotranspiration of irrigated water. Water losses due to evapotranspiration are much larger than irrigation-induced precipitation and recycled precipitation increases, confirming that irrigation results in net water loss over the Great Plains.

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Keith J. Harding and Peter K. Snyder

Abstract

This study demonstrates the relationship between the Pacific–North American (PNA) teleconnection pattern and the Great Plains low-level jet (GPLLJ). The negative phase of the PNA, which is associated with lower heights over the Great Plains and ridging in the southeastern United States, enhances the GPLLJ by increasing the pressure gradient within the GPLLJ on 6-hourly to monthly time scales. Strong GPLLJ events predominantly occur when the PNA is negative. Warm-season strong GPLLJ events with a very negative PNA (<−1) are associated with more persistent, longer wavelength planetary waves that increase the duration of GPLLJ events and enhance precipitation over the north central United States. When one considers the greatest 5-day north central U.S. precipitation events, a large majority occur when the PNA is negative, with most exhibiting a very negative PNA. Stronger moisture transport during heavy rainfall events with a very negative PNA decreases the precipitation of locally derived moisture compared to events with a very positive PNA. The PNA becomes negative 2–12 days before heavy rainfall events and is very negative within two weeks of 78% of heavy rainfall events in the north central United States, a finding that could be used to improve medium-range forecasts of heavy rainfall events.

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Keith J. Harding and Peter K. Snyder

Abstract

Since World War II, the expansion of irrigation throughout the Great Plains has resulted in a significant decline in the water table of the Ogallala Aquifer, threatening its long-term sustainability. The addition of near-surface water for irrigation has previously been shown to impact the surface energy and water budgets by modifying the partitioning of latent and sensible heating. A strong increase in latent heating drives near-surface cooling and an increase in humidity, which has opposing impacts on convective precipitation. In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) was modified to simulate the effects of irrigation on precipitation. Using a satellite-derived fractional irrigation dataset, grid cells were divided into irrigated and nonirrigated segments and the near-surface soil layer within irrigated segments was held at saturation. Nine April–October periods (three drought, three normal, and three pluvial) were simulated over the Great Plains. Averaging over all simulations, May–September precipitation increased by 4.97 mm (0.91%), with localized increases of up to 20%. The largest precipitation increases occurred during pluvial years (6.14 mm; 0.98%) and the smallest increases occurred during drought years (2.85 mm; 0.63%). Precipitation increased by 7.86 mm (1.61%) over irrigated areas from the enhancement of elevated nocturnal convection. Significant precipitation increases occurred over irrigated areas during normal and pluvial years, with decreases during drought years. This suggests that a soil moisture threshold likely exists whereby irrigation suppresses convection over irrigated areas when soil moisture is extremely low and enhances convection when antecedent soil moisture is relatively high.

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Brian V. Smoliak, Peter K. Snyder, Tracy E. Twine, Phillip M. Mykleby, and William F. Hertel

Abstract

Data from a dense urban meteorological network (UMN) are analyzed, revealing the spatial heterogeneity and temporal variability of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota) canopy-layer urban heat island (UHI). Data from individual sensors represent surface air temperature (SAT) across a variety of local climate zones within a 5000-km2 area and span the 3-yr period from 1 August 2011 to 1 August 2014. Irregularly spaced data are interpolated to a uniform 1 km × 1 km grid using two statistical methods: 1) kriging and 2) cokriging with impervious surface area data. The cokriged SAT field exhibits lower bias and lower RMSE than does the kriged SAT field when evaluated against an independent set of observations. Maps, time series, and statistics that are based on the cokriged field are presented to describe the spatial structure and magnitude of the Twin Cities metropolitan area (TCMA) UHI on hourly, daily, and seasonal time scales. The average diurnal variation of the TCMA UHI exhibits distinct seasonal modulation wherein the daily maximum occurs by night during summer and by day during winter. Daily variations in the UHI magnitude are linked to changes in weather patterns. Seasonal variations in the UHI magnitude are discussed in terms of land–atmosphere interactions. To the extent that they more fully resolve the spatial structure of the UHI, dense UMNs are advantageous relative to limited collections of existing urban meteorological observations. Dense UMNs are thus capable of providing valuable information for UHI monitoring and for implementing and evaluating UHI mitigation efforts.

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Justin E. Bagley, Ankur R. Desai, Keith J. Harding, Peter K. Snyder, and Jonathan A. Foley

Abstract

Expansion of agricultural lands and inherent variability of climate can influence the water cycle in the Amazon basin, impacting numerous ecosystem services. However, these two influences do not work independently of each other. With two once-in-a-century-level droughts occurring in the Amazon in the past decade, it is vital to understand the feedbacks that contribute to altering the water cycle. The biogeophysical impacts of land cover change within the Amazon basin were examined under drought and pluvial conditions to investigate how land cover and drought jointly may have enhanced or diminished recent precipitation extremes by altering patterns and intensity. Using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model coupled to the Noah land surface model, a series of April–September simulations representing drought, normal, and pluvial years were completed to assess how land cover change impacts precipitation and how these impacts change under varied rainfall regimes. Evaporative sources of water vapor that precipitate across the region were developed with a quasi-isentropic back-trajectory algorithm to delineate the extent and variability that terrestrial evaporation contributes to regional precipitation. A decrease in dry season latent heat flux and other impacts of deforestation on surface conditions were increased by drought conditions. Coupled with increases in dry season moisture recycling over the Amazon basin by ~7% during drought years, land cover change is capable of reducing precipitation and increasing the amplitude of droughts in the region.

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Stefan Liess, Arjun Kumar, Peter K. Snyder, Jaya Kawale, Karsten Steinhaeuser, Frederick H. M. Semazzi, Auroop R. Ganguly, Nagiza F. Samatova, and Vipin Kumar

Abstract

A new approach is used to detect atmospheric teleconnections without being bound by orthogonality (such as empirical orthogonal functions). This method employs negative correlations in a global dataset to detect potential teleconnections. One teleconnection occurs between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Ocean. It is related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), and the southern annular mode (SAM). This teleconnection is significantly correlated with SAM during austral summer, fall, and winter, with IOD during spring, and with ENSO in summer. It can thus be described as a hybrid between these modes. Given previously found relationships between IOD and ENSO, and IOD’s proximity to the teleconnection centers, correlations to IOD are generally stronger than to ENSO.

Increasing pressure over the Tasman Sea leads to higher (lower) surface temperature over eastern Australia (the southwestern Pacific) in all seasons and is related to reduced surface temperature over Wilkes Land and Adélie Land in Antarctica during fall and winter. Precipitation responses are generally negative over New Zealand. For one standard deviation of the teleconnection index, precipitation anomalies are positive over Australia in fall, negative over southern Australia in winter and spring, and negative over eastern Australia in summer. When doubling the threshold, the size of the anomalous high-pressure center increases and annual precipitation anomalies are negative over southeastern Australia and northern New Zealand. Eliassen–Palm fluxes quantify the seasonal dependence of SAM, ENSO, and IOD influences. Analysis of the dynamical interactions between these teleconnection patterns can improve prediction of seasonal temperature and precipitation patterns in Australia and New Zealand.

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