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G. T. Diro and L. Sushama

Abstract

Soil moisture–atmosphere interactions play a key role in modulating climate variability and extremes. This study investigates how soil moisture–atmosphere coupling may affect future extreme events, particularly the role of projected soil moisture in modulating the frequency and maximum duration of hot spells over North America, using the fifth-generation Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM5). With this objective, CRCM5 simulations, driven by two coupled general circulation models (MPI-ESM and CanESM2), are performed with and without soil moisture–atmosphere interactions for current (1981–2010) and future (2071–2100) climates over North America, for representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. Analysis indicates that, in future climate, the soil moisture–temperature coupling regions, located over the Great Plains in the current climate, will expand farther north, including large parts of central Canada. Results also indicate that soil moisture–atmosphere interactions will play an important role in modulating temperature extremes in the future by contributing more than 50% to the projected increase in hot-spell days over the southern Great Plains and parts of central Canada, especially for the RCP4.5 scenario. This higher contribution of soil moisture–atmosphere interactions to the future increases in hot-spell days for RCP4.5 is related to the fact that the projected decrease in soil moisture caused the soil to remain in a transitional regime between wet and dry state that is conducive to soil moisture–atmosphere coupling. For the RCP8.5 scenario, on the other hand, the future projected soil state over the southern United States and northern Mexico is too dry to have an impact on evapotranspiration and therefore on temperature.

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G. T. Diro and H. Lin

Abstract

Accurate and skillful subseasonal forecasts have tremendous potential for sectors that are sensitive to hazardous weather and climate events. Analysis of prediction skill for snow water equivalent (SWE) and near-surface air temperature (T2m) is carried out for three (GEPS, GEFS, and FIM) global models from the subseasonal experiment (SubX) project for the 2000–14 period. The prediction skill of SWE is higher than the skill of T2m at week-3 and week-4 lead times in all models. The GEPS forecast tends to yield higher (lower) prediction skill of SWE (T2m) compared to the other two systems in terms of correlation skill score. The snow–temperature relationship in reanalysis is characterized by a strong negative correlation over most of the midlatitude regions and a weak positive correlation over high-latitude Arctic regions. All forecast systems reproduced well these observed features; however, the snow–temperature relationship is slightly weaker in the GEPS model. Despite the apparent lack of skill in temperature forecasts at week 4, all three models are able to predict the sign of temperature anomalies associated with extreme SWE conditions albeit with reduced intensity. The strength of the predicted temperature anomaly associated with extreme snow conditions is slightly weaker in the GEPS forecast compared to reanalysis and the other two models, despite having better skill in predicting SWE. These apparent disparities suggest that weak snow–temperature coupling strength in the model is one of the contributing factors for the lower temperature skill.

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