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  • Author or Editor: Laurent Z. X. Li x
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Sébastien Conil and Laurent Z-X. Li


The observations of the ocean–atmosphere–sea ice have recently revealed that the oceanic surfaces can have a subtle but significant impact on the atmospheric long-term fluctuations. Low-frequency variations and long-term trends of the North Atlantic atmospheric circulation have been partly related to particular SST and sea ice features. In this work, the influence of typical tripolar SST and dipolar sea ice anomalies in the North Atlantic–Arctic on the atmosphere is investigated. A large ensemble of AGCM simulations forced by three different anomalous boundary conditions (SST, sea ice, and SST + sea ice) are used. The linearity of the simulated response in the winter season is particularly assessed.

In these experiments, while the winter low-level temperature response is mainly symmetric about the sign of the forcing, the asymmetric part of the geopotential response is substantial. The sea ice forcing maintains a baroclinic response with a strong temperature anomaly in the vicinity of the forcing but with a weak vertical penetration. The SST maintains an NAO-like equivalent barotropic temperature and geopotential height response that extends throughout the troposphere. It is also shown that the combination of the two forcings is mainly linear for the low-level temperature and nonlinear for the geopotential height. While the SST forcing seems to be the main contributor to the total temperature and geopotential height responses, the sea ice forcing appears to introduce significant nonlinear perturbations.

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Zhenzhong Zeng, Shilong Piao, Laurent Z. X. Li, Tao Wang, Philippe Ciais, Xu Lian, Yuting Yang, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Ranga B. Myneni


Leaf area index (LAI) is increasing throughout the globe, implying Earth greening. Global modeling studies support this contention, yet satellite observations and model simulations have never been directly compared. Here, for the first time, a coupled land–climate model was used to quantify the potential impact of the satellite-observed Earth greening over the past 30 years on the terrestrial water cycle. The global LAI enhancement of 8% between the early 1980s and the early 2010s is modeled to have caused increases of 12.0 ± 2.4 mm yr−1 in evapotranspiration and 12.1 ± 2.7 mm yr−1 in precipitation—about 55% ± 25% and 28% ± 6% of the observed increases in land evapotranspiration and precipitation, respectively. In wet regions, the greening did not significantly decrease runoff and soil moisture because it intensified moisture recycling through a coincident increase of evapotranspiration and precipitation. But in dry regions, including the Sahel, west Asia, northern India, the western United States, and the Mediterranean coast, the greening was modeled to significantly decrease soil moisture through its coupling with the atmospheric water cycle. This modeled soil moisture response, however, might have biases resulting from the precipitation biases in the model. For example, the model dry bias might have underestimated the soil moisture response in the observed dry area (e.g., the Sahel and northern India) given that the modeled soil moisture is near the wilting point. Thus, an accurate representation of precipitation and its feedbacks in Earth system models is essential for simulations and predictions of how soil moisture responds to LAI changes, and therefore how the terrestrial water cycle responds to climate change.

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