Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 39 items for

  • Author or Editor: David M. Lawrence x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Fang Li and David M. Lawrence

Abstract

Fire is a global phenomenon and the primary form of terrestrial ecosystem disturbance on a global scale. It is tightly coupled with climate, ecosystems, carbon and water cycles, and human activities. Through biomass burning and fire-induced plant-tissue mortality, current and historical fires significantly affect terrestrial ecosystems, which can alter hydrology fluxes. This study provides the first quantitative assessment and understanding about the influence of fire on the global land water budget due to changing terrestrial ecosystems during the twentieth century. This is done by quantifying the difference between twentieth-century fire-on and fire-off simulations using the Community Earth System Model (CESM). Results show that fire significantly reduces the annual evapotranspiration (ET) over the global land by 0.6 × 103 km3 yr−1 and increases global total of runoff in almost the same quantity, while having almost no impact (0.0 × 103 km3 yr−1) on annual precipitation amount. Fire also weakens both the significant upward trend in total ET over global land prior to the 1950s and the downward trend from 1950 to about 1985 by approximately 35%. For the twentieth-century average, fire impact on ET and runoff is most clearly seen in the tropical savannas, African rain forests, and some boreal forests and southern Asian forests. Fire affects global ET and runoff through reducing vegetation canopy and vegetation height, which interact with fire-induced changes in biogeochemical cycle and result in drier and warmer surface air and higher wind speed. Globally speaking, reducing the vegetation canopy is the main pathway of fire’s impact on ET and runoff.

Full access
David M. Lawrence and Julia M. Slingo

Abstract

A recent model intercomparison, the Global Land–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE), showed that there is a wide range of land–atmosphere coupling strengths, or the degree that soil moisture affects the generation of precipitation, amongst current atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs). Coupling strength in the Hadley Centre atmosphere model (HadAM3) is among the weakest of all AGCMs considered in GLACE. Reasons for the weak HadAM3 coupling strength are sought here. In particular, the impact of pervasive saturated soil conditions and low soil moisture variability on coupling strength is assessed. It is found that when the soil model is modified to reduce the occurrence of soil moisture saturation and to encourage soil moisture variability, the soil moisture–precipitation feedback remains weak, even though the relationship between soil moisture and evaporation is strengthened.

Composites of the diurnal cycle, constructed relative to soil moisture, indicate that the model can simulate key differences in boundary layer development over wet versus dry soils. In particular, the influence of wet or dry soil on the diurnal cycles of Bowen ratio, boundary layer height, and total heat flux are largely consistent with the observed influence of soil moisture on these properties. However, despite what appears to be successful simulation of these key aspects of the indirect soil moisture–precipitation feedback, the model does not capture observed differences for wet and dry soils in the daily accumulation of boundary layer moist static energy, a crucial feature of the feedback mechanism.

Full access
David M. Lawrence and Peter J. Webster

Abstract

It is noted that the behavior of the intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) of the south Asian monsoon varies from year to year. An index representing seasonally averaged ISO activity is developed using outgoing longwave radiation data for the period 1975–97. Interannual variations in ISO activity are found to be related to year-to-year changes in the number of discrete events rather than to changes in the characteristic period.

Summertime ISO activity exhibits a reasonably strong inverse relationship with Indian monsoon strength but not with total south Asian monsoon strength primarily because of a lack of correlation between ISO activity and the Bay of Bengal component of the south Asian monsoon. Over the 22-yr period examined here, the relationship between Indian monsoon strength and ISO activity is comparable to or even stronger than the well-documented relationship with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). However, summertime ISO activity is found to be relatively uncorrelated with ENSO except for a weakly positive correlation at the beginning of the south Asian monsoon season. Therefore, the ISO activity–Indian monsoon relationship is essentially independent of the ENSO–Indian monsoon relationship. ISO activity is uncorrelated with any other contemporaneous or leading sea surface temperature variability.

Full access
Andrew G. Slater and David M. Lawrence

Abstract

Permafrost is a characteristic aspect of the terrestrial Arctic and the fate of near-surface permafrost over the next century is likely to exert strong controls on Arctic hydrology and biogeochemistry. Using output from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), the authors assess its ability to simulate present-day and future permafrost. Permafrost extent diagnosed directly from each climate model's soil temperature is a function of the modeled surface climate as well as the ability of the land surface model to represent permafrost physics. For each CMIP5 model these two effects are separated by using indirect estimators of permafrost driven by climatic indices and compared to permafrost extent directly diagnosed via soil temperatures. Several robust conclusions can be drawn from this analysis. Significant air temperature and snow depth biases exist in some model's climates, which degrade both directly and indirectly diagnosed permafrost conditions. The range of directly calculated present-day (1986–2005) permafrost area is extremely large (~4–25 × 106 km2). Several land models contain structural weaknesses that limit their skill in simulating cold region subsurface processes. The sensitivity of future permafrost extent to temperature change over the present-day observed permafrost region averages (1.67 ± 0.7) × 106 km2 °C−1 but is a function of the spatial and temporal distribution of climate change. Because of sizable differences in future climates for the representative concentration pathway (RCP) emission scenarios, a wide variety of future permafrost states is predicted by 2100. Conservatively, the models suggest that for RCP4.5, permafrost will retreat from the present-day discontinuous zone. Under RCP8.5, sustainable permafrost will be most probable only in the Canadian Archipelago, Russian Arctic coast, and east Siberian uplands.

Full access
David M. Lawrence and Peter J. Webster

Abstract

The summertime intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) is an important component of the south Asian monsoon. Lagged regressions of intraseasonally filtered (25–80 days) outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) reveal that centers of convection move both northward and eastward from the central equatorial Indian Ocean subsequent to the initiation of an ISO. Eastward movement of convection is also seen at Indian subcontinent latitudes (10°–20°N). Based on the regression results, the summertime ISO convection signal appears as a band tilting northwestward with latitude and stretching from the equator to about 20°N. Viewed along any meridian, convection appears to propagate northward while equatorial convection propagates to the east. To examine the robustness of the connection between eastward and northward movement, individual ISOs are categorized and composited relative to the strength of the large-scale eastward component of convection in the central equatorial Indian Ocean. It is found that the majority of ISOs that exhibit northward movement onto the Indian subcontinent (42 out of 54 ISOs, or 78%) also exhibit eastward movement into the western Pacific Ocean. It is also found that when convection in the central Indian Ocean is not followed within 10–20 days by convection in the western Pacific Ocean (12 out of 54 ISOs, or 22%), the independent northward movement of convection in the Indian Ocean region is somewhat stunted.

The link between the eastward and northward movement of convection is consistent with an interpretation of the summertime ISO in terms of propagating equatorial modes. The northward moving portion of convection is forced by surface frictional convergence into the low pressure center of the Rossby cell that is excited by equatorial ISO convection. A similar convergence pattern is seen for the northern winter ISO, but it does not generate poleward movement due to relatively cool SSTs underlying the surface convergence.

Full access
Larry M. McMillin, Lawrence J. Crone, and David S. Crosby

Abstract

Many methods for converting satellite radiances to temperatures require a comparison of observed radiances with radiances calculated from a first guess. Usually, measured values must be tuned to agree with theoretical calculations. A regression in which the calculated radiances are predicted from the observed ones is a method of making the adjustment, but results in unrealistic coefficients. Several modifications to standard regression are tried, and it is shown that rotated regression, a technique developed in this paper, provides the required accuracy with coefficients that satisfy the physical constraints.

Full access
Carolina A. Bieri, Francina Dominguez, and David M. Lawrence

Abstract

The La Plata basin (LPB), located in southeastern South America (SESA), is a region of significant socioeconomic importance, particularly for agriculture. This area of South America exhibits strong land-atmosphere coupling in the warm season. In this work, we evaluate the impact of large-scale soil moisture (SM) anomalies on regional-scale atmospheric conditions. Multivariate empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis is used to extract the dominant modes of joint variability of monthly averaged root-zone SM and one month-lagged precipitation from atmospheric reanalyses. We find that the dominant EOF pattern is consistent with a positive correlation between antecedent SM and precipitation, while the second dominant EOF pattern is consistent with a negative correlation between these variables. To evaluate causality, the effects of large-scale SM anomalies on atmospheric variables are examined using the Community Earth System Model (CESM). CESM simulations suggest that anomalously dry SM is initially co-located with decreased precipitation. Subsequent changes in the atmospheric circulation associated with a thermal low draw moisture into the region, eventually promoting increased precipitation. This study investigates the pathways through which SM anomalies modulate precipitation in this region. For this reason, this study has potential atmospheric prediction applications which could benefit the population and the socioeconomic well-being of this important region.

Restricted access
David M. Lawrence, Andrew G. Slater, and Sean C. Swenson

Abstract

The representation of permafrost and seasonally frozen ground and their projected twenty-first century trends is assessed in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) and the Community Land Model version 4 (CLM4). The combined impact of advances in CLM and a better Arctic climate simulation, especially for air temperature, improve the permafrost simulation in CCSM4 compared to CCSM3. Present-day continuous plus discontinuous permafrost extent is comparable to that observed [12.5 × 106 versus (11.8–14.6) × 106 km2], but active-layer thickness (ALT) is generally too thick and deep ground (>15 m) temperatures are too warm in CCSM4. Present-day seasonally frozen ground area is well simulated (47.5 × 106 versus 48.1 × 106 km2). ALT and deep ground temperatures are much better simulated in offline CLM4 (i.e., forced with observed climate), which indicates that the remaining climate biases, particularly excessive high-latitude snowfall biases, degrade the CCSM4 permafrost simulation.

Near-surface permafrost (NSP) and seasonally frozen ground (SFG) area are projected to decline substantially during the twenty-first century [representative concentration projections (RCPs); RCP8.5: NSP by 9.0 × 106 km2, 72%, SFG by 7.1 × 106, 15%; RCP2.6: NSP by 4.1 × 106, 33%, SFG by 2.1 × 106, 4%]. The permafrost degradation rate is slower (2000–50) than in CCSM3 by ~35% because of the improved soil physics. Under the low RCP2.6 emissions pathway, permafrost state stabilizes by 2100, suggesting that permafrost related feedbacks could be minimized if greenhouse emissions could be reduced. The trajectory of permafrost degradation is affected by CCSM4 climate biases. In simulations with this climate bias ameliorated, permafrost degradation in RCP8.5 is lower by ~29%. Further reductions of Arctic climate biases will increase the reliability of permafrost projections and feedback studies in earth system models.

Full access
Liang Chen, Paul A. Dirmeyer, Ahmed Tawfik, and David M. Lawrence

Abstract

The land surface state can be an important factor in the triggering of precipitation, whose depiction in Earth system models (ESMs) crucially relies on the representation of convective initiation. However, the sensitivity of land-cover change–precipitation feedbacks to different parameterized triggering criteria in ESMs has not been examined. In this study, a new triggering mechanism based on the heated condensation framework (HCF) is implemented in the Community Earth System Model (CESM). A set of land-cover change experiments with different convective triggering conditions are performed to evaluate the influence of convective triggering on land–atmosphere coupling strength and the response of summer afternoon precipitation to land-cover change over North America. Compared with the default parameterization, which depends on a CAPE threshold, the HCF trigger shows an improvement in the diurnal timing of summer precipitation but larger dry biases over much of the study area. With the HCF trigger, CESM exhibits weakened coupling strength between soil moisture and surface turbulent fluxes over the Great Plains. The surface temperature deficit, as an additional triggering criterion in HCF, is not significantly coupled with surface fluxes over the central Great Plains despite strong latent heat–CAPE coupling. In contrast to the CAPE-trigger simulations, which indicate increased precipitation over the Great Plains after agricultural expansion, the HCF-trigger simulations show significantly increased afternoon precipitation only over the northern plains, which is mainly associated with more frequent deep convection. The discrepancies suggest caveats when investigating the impacts of land-cover change on precipitation, because the magnitude and spatial patterns of precipitation change can be greatly affected by the treatment of convection in ESMs.

Full access
Michael A. Alexander, Robert Tomas, Clara Deser, and David M. Lawrence

Abstract

Two atmospheric general circulation model experiments are conducted with specified terrestrial snow conditions representative of 1980–99 and 2080–99. The snow states are obtained from twentieth-century and twenty-first-century coupled climate model integrations under increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. Sea surface temperatures, sea ice, and greenhouse gas concentrations are set to 1980–99 values in both atmospheric model experiments to isolate the effect of the snow changes. The reduction in snow cover in the twenty-first century relative to the twentieth century increases the solar radiation absorbed by the surface, and it enhances the upward longwave radiation and latent and sensible fluxes that warm the overlying atmosphere. The maximum twenty-first-century minus twentieth-century surface air temperature (SAT) differences are relatively small (<3°C) compared with those due to Arctic sea ice changes (∼10°C). However, they are continental in scale and are largest in fall and spring, when they make a significant contribution to the overall warming over Eurasia and North America in the twenty-first century. The circulation response to the snow changes, while of modest amplitude, involves multiple components, including a local low-level trough, remote Rossby wave trains, an annular pattern that is strongest in the stratosphere, and a hemispheric increase in geopotential height.

Full access