Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 5 of 5 items for

  • Author or Editor: Marc P. Marcella x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Marc P. Marcella
and
Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of the spatial, seasonal, and interannual variabilities of Kuwaiti rainfall. Based on an analysis of rain gauge, as well as satellite, datasets, it is estimated that about 110–190 mm of rainfall occurs annually in Kuwait, depending on the dataset sampled. The corresponding estimates for the standard deviations of the annual rainfall are about 40–70 mm. Discrepancies between values arise from the different techniques used in constructing each dataset. Moreover, the spatial distribution of annual rainfall features a gradual increase from the southwest to the northeast. A distinct rainy season occurs from November to April, with double peaks in January and March. In addition, the seasonal variability of rainfall is associated with shifts in patterns of midlatitude storm tracks, which propagate southward toward the Middle East during the winter and spring season. These trends are characterized using estimates of the spatial correlations of rainfall in Kuwait with the surrounding region. At the interannual time scale, significant correlation is found between the tropical El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and annual rainfall anomalies. Similar weak correlations are found between midlatitude rainfall in Europe and rainfall in Kuwait. The weak connections observed with both tropical and midlatitude atmospheric systems are consistent with the fact that Kuwait is located in the transitional zone between the tropics and midlatitudes.

Full access
Marc P. Marcella
and
Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Abstract

Presented is a study on the role of land surface processes in determining the summertime climate over the semiarid region of southwest Asia. In this region, a warm surface air temperature bias of 3.5°C is simulated in the summer by using the standard configuration of Regional Climate Model version 3 (RegCM3). Biases are also simulated in surface albedo (underestimation), shortwave incident radiation (overestimation), and vapor pressure (underestimation). Based on satellite measurements documented in NASA’s surface radiation budget (SRB) dataset, a correction in surface albedo by 4% is introduced in RegCM3 to match the observed SRB data. Increasing albedo values results in a nearly 1°C cooling over the region. In addition, by incorporating RegCM3’s dust module and including subgrid variability for surface wind, shortwave incident radiation bias originally of about 45 W m−2 is reduced by 30 W m−2. As a result, the reduction of shortwave incident radiation cools the surface by 0.6°C. Finally, including a representation for the irrigation and marshlands of Mesopotamia produces surface relative humidity values closer to observations, thus eliminating a nearly 5-mb vapor pressure dry bias over some of the region. Consequently, the representation of irrigation and marshlands results in cooling of nearly 1°C in areas downwind of the actual land-cover change. Along with identified biases in observational datasets, these combined processes explain the 3.5°C warm bias in RegCM3 simulations. Therefore, it is found that accurate representations of surface albedo, dust emissions, and irrigation are important in correctly modeling summertime climates of semiarid regions.

Full access
Marc P. Marcella
and
Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Abstract

This article presents a new irrigation scheme and biome to the dynamic vegetation model, Integrated Biosphere Simulator (IBIS), coupled to version 3 of the Regional Climate Model (RegCM3-IBIS). The new land cover allows for only the plant functional type (crop) to exist in an irrigated grid cell. Irrigation water (i.e., negative runoff) is applied until the soil root zone reaches relative field capacity. The new scheme allows for irrigation scheduling (i.e., when to apply water) and for the user to determine the crop to be grown. Initial simulations show a large sensitivity of the scheme to soil texture types, how the water is applied, and the climatic conditions over the region. Application of the new scheme is tested over West Africa, specifically Mali and Niger, to simulate the potential irrigation of the Niger River. A realistic representation of irrigation of the Niger River is performed by constraining the land irrigated by the annual flow of the Niger River and the amount of arable land in the region as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). A 30-yr simulation including irrigated cropland is compared to a 30-yr simulation that is identical but with no irrigation of the Niger. Results indicate a significant greening of the irrigated land as evapotranspiration over the crop fields largely increases—mostly via increases in transpiration from plant growth. The increase in the evapotranspiration, or latent heat flux (by 65–150 W m−2), causes a significant decrease in the sensible heat flux while surface temperatures cool on average by nearly 5°C. This cooling is felt downwind, where average daily temperatures outside the irrigation are reduced by 0.5°–1.0°C. Likewise, large increases in 2-m specific humidity are experienced across the irrigated cropland (on the order of 5 g kg−1) but also extend farther north and east, reflecting the prevailing surface southwesterlies. Changes (decreases) in rainfall are found only over the irrigated lands of west Mali. The decrease in rainfall can be explained by the large surface cooling and collapse of the boundary layer (by approximately 500 m). Both lead to a reduction in the triggering of convection as the convective inhibition, or negative buoyant energy, is never breached. Nevertheless, the new scheme and land cover allows for a novel line of research that can accurately reflect the effects of irrigation on climate and the surrounding environment using a dynamic vegetation model coupled to a regional climate model.

Full access
Marc P. Marcella
and
Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Abstract

A new subcloud layer evaporation scheme is incorporated into Regional Climate Model, version 3 (RegCM3), to better simulate the rainfall distribution over a semiarid region around Kuwait. The new scheme represents subcloud layer evaporation of convective as well as large-scale rainfall. Model results are compared to observations from rain gauge data networks and satellites. The simulations show significant response to the incorporation of subcloud layer evaporation as a reduction by as much as 20% in annual rainfall occurs over the region. As a result, the new model simulations of annual rainfall are within 15% of observations. In addition, results indicate that the interannual variability of rainfall simulated by RegCM3 is sensitive to the specification of boundary conditions. For example, forcing RegCM3’s lateral boundary conditions with the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) data, instead of NCEP–NCAR’s Reanalysis Project 2 (NNRP2), reduces interannual variability by over 25%. Moreover, with subcloud layer evaporation incorporated and ERA-40 boundary conditions implemented, the model’s bias and root-mean-square error are significantly reduced. Therefore, the model’s ability to reproduce observed annual rainfall and the year-to-year variation of rainfall is greatly improved. Thus, these results elucidate the critical role of this natural process in simulating the hydroclimatology of semiarid climates. Last, a large discrepancy between observation datasets over the region is observed. It is believed that the inherent characteristics that are used to construct these datasets explain the differences observed in the annual and interannual variability of Kuwait’s rainfall.

Full access
Eun-Soon Im
,
Marc P. Marcella
, and
Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of potential large-scale irrigation on the West African monsoon using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology regional climate model (MRCM). A new irrigation module is implemented to assess the impact of location and scheduling of irrigation on rainfall distribution over West Africa. A control simulation (without irrigation) and eight sensitivity experiments (with irrigation) are performed and compared to discern the effects of irrigation location and scheduling. It is found that the irrigation effect on soil moisture could force significant changes in spatial distribution and magnitude of rainfall, depending on the latitudinal location of irrigation. In general, the large irrigation-induced surface cooling owing to anomalously wet soil tends to suppress moist convection and rainfall, which in turn induces local subsidence and low-level anticyclonic circulation. These local effects are dominated by a consistent reduction of local rainfall over the irrigated land, irrespective of its location. However, the remote response of rainfall distribution to irrigation exhibits a significant sensitivity to the latitudinal position of irrigation and the intraseasonal variation of supplied irrigation water. The low-level northeasterly airflow associated with an anticyclonic circulation centered over the irrigation area, induced at optimal location and timing, would enhance the extent of low-level convergence areas through interaction with the prevailing monsoon flow, leading to a significant increase in rainfall. As the location of the irrigation area is moved from the coast northward, the regional rainfall change exhibits a significant decrease first, then increases gradually to a maximum corresponding to irrigation centered around 20°N, before it declines again.

Full access