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Martin Hirschi
,
Sonia I. Seneviratne
, and
Christoph Schär

Abstract

This paper presents a new diagnostic dataset of monthly variations in terrestrial water storage for 37 midlatitude river basins in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia. Terrestrial water storage is the sum of all forms of water storage on land surfaces, and its seasonal and interannual variations are in principle determined by soil moisture, groundwater, snow cover, and surface water. The dataset is derived with the combined atmospheric and terrestrial water-balance approach using conventional streamflow measurements and atmospheric moisture convergence data from the ECMWF 40-yr Re-Analysis (ERA-40). A recent study for the Mississippi River basin (Seneviratne et al. 2004) has demonstrated the validity of this diagnostic approach and found that it agreed well with in situ observations in Illinois. The present study extends this previous analysis to other regions of the midlatitudes.

A systematic analysis is presented of the slow drift that occurs with the water-balance approach. It is shown that the drift not only depends on the size of the catchment under consideration, but also on the geographical region and the underlying topography. The drift is in general not constant in time, but artificial inhomogeneities may result from changes in the global observing system used in the 44 yr of the reanalysis. To remove this time-dependent drift, a simple high-pass filter is applied. Validation of the results is conducted for several catchments with an appreciable coverage of in situ soil moisture and snow cover depth observations in the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, and China. Although the groundwater component is not accounted for in these observations, encouraging correlations are found between diagnostic and in situ estimates of terrestrial water storage, both for seasonal and interannual variations. Comparisons conducted against simulated ERA-40 terrestrial water storage variations suggest that the reanalysis substantially underestimates the amplitude of the seasonal cycle.

The basin-scale water-balance (BSWB) dataset is available for download over the Internet. It constitutes a useful tool for the validation of climate models, large-scale land surface data assimilation systems, and indirect observations of terrestrial water storage variations.

Full access
Clemens Schwingshackl
,
Martin Hirschi
, and
Sonia I. Seneviratne

Abstract

Soil moisture plays a crucial role for the energy partitioning at Earth’s surface. Changing fractions of latent and sensible heat fluxes caused by soil moisture variations can affect both near-surface air temperature and precipitation. In this study, a simple framework for the dependence of evaporative fraction (the ratio of latent heat flux over net radiation) on soil moisture is used to analyze spatial and temporal variations of land–atmosphere coupling and its effect on near-surface air temperature. Using three different data sources (two reanalysis datasets and one combination of different datasets), three key parameters for the relation between soil moisture and evaporative fraction are estimated: 1) the frequency of occurrence of different soil moisture regimes, 2) the sensitivity of evaporative fraction to soil moisture in the transitional soil moisture regime, and 3) the critical soil moisture value that separates soil moisture- and energy-limited evapotranspiration regimes. The results show that about 30%–60% (depending on the dataset) of the global land area is in the transitional regime during at least half of the year. Based on the identification of transitional regimes, the effect of changes in soil moisture on near-surface air temperature is analyzed. Typical soil moisture variations (standard deviation) can impact air temperature by up to 1.1–1.3 K, while changing soil moisture over its full range in the transitional regime can alter air temperature by up to 6–7 K. The results emphasize the role of soil moisture for atmosphere and climate and constitute a useful benchmark for the evaluation of the respective relationships in Earth system models.

Full access
Martin Hirschi
,
Christoph Spirig
,
Andreas P. Weigel
,
Pierluigi Calanca
,
Jörg Samietz
, and
Mathias W. Rotach

Abstract

Monthly weather forecasts (MOFCs) were shown to have skill in extratropical continental regions for lead times up to 3 weeks, in particular for temperature and if weekly averaged. This skill could be exploited in practical applications for implementations exhibiting some degree of memory or inertia toward meteorological drivers, potentially even for longer lead times. Many agricultural applications fall into these categories because of the temperature-dependent development of biological organisms, allowing simulations that are based on temperature sums. Most such agricultural models require local weather information at daily or even hourly temporal resolution, however, preventing direct use of the spatially and temporally aggregated information of MOFCs, which may furthermore be subject to significant biases. By the example of forecasting the timing of life-phase occurrences of the codling moth (Cydia pomonella), which is a major insect pest in apple orchards worldwide, the authors investigate the application of downscaled weekly temperature anomalies of MOFCs for use in an impact model requiring hourly input. The downscaling and postprocessing included the use of a daily weather generator and a resampling procedure for creating hourly weather series and the application of a recalibration technique to correct for the original underconfidence of the forecast occurrences of codling moth life phases. Results show a clear skill improvement of up to 3 days in root-mean-square error over the full forecast range when incorporating MOFCs as compared with deterministic benchmark forecasts using climatological information for predicting the timing of codling moth life phases.

Full access
Bart van den Hurk
,
Martin Hirschi
,
Christoph Schär
,
Geert Lenderink
,
Erik van Meijgaard
,
Aad van Ulden
,
Burkhardt Rockel
,
Stefan Hagemann
,
Phil Graham
,
Erik Kjellström
, and
Richard Jones

Abstract

Simulations with seven regional climate models driven by a common control climate simulation of a GCM carried out for Europe in the context of the (European Union) EU-funded Prediction of Regional scenarios and Uncertainties for Defining European Climate change risks and Effects (PRUDENCE) project were analyzed with respect to land surface hydrology in the Rhine basin. In particular, the annual cycle of the terrestrial water storage was compared to analyses based on the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) atmospheric convergence and observed Rhine discharge data. In addition, an analysis was made of the partitioning of convergence anomalies over anomalies in runoff and storage. This analysis revealed that most models underestimate the size of the water storage and consequently overestimated the response of runoff to anomalies in net convergence. The partitioning of these anomalies over runoff and storage was indicative for the response of the simulated runoff to a projected climate change consistent with the greenhouse gas A2 Synthesis Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES). In particular, the annual cycle of runoff is affected largely by the terrestrial storage reservoir. Larger storage capacity leads to smaller changes in both wintertime and summertime monthly mean runoff. The sustained summertime evaporation resulting from larger storage reservoirs may have a noticeable impact on the summertime surface temperature projections.

Full access
Gianpaolo Balsamo
,
Anton Beljaars
,
Klaus Scipal
,
Pedro Viterbo
,
Bart van den Hurk
,
Martin Hirschi
, and
Alan K. Betts

Abstract

The Tiled ECMWF Scheme for Surface Exchanges over Land (TESSEL) is used operationally in the Integrated Forecast System (IFS) for describing the evolution of soil, vegetation, and snow over the continents at diverse spatial resolutions. A revised land surface hydrology (H-TESSEL) is introduced in the ECMWF operational model to address shortcomings of the land surface scheme, specifically the lack of surface runoff and the choice of a global uniform soil texture. New infiltration and runoff schemes are introduced with a dependency on the soil texture and standard deviation of orography. A set of experiments in stand-alone mode is used to assess the improved prediction of soil moisture at the local scale against field site observations. Comparison with basin-scale water balance (BSWB) and Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) datasets indicates a consistently larger dynamical range of land water mass over large continental areas and an improved prediction of river runoff, while the effect on atmospheric fluxes is fairly small. Finally, the ECMWF data assimilation and prediction systems are used to verify the effect on surface and near-surface quantities in the atmospheric-coupled mode. A midlatitude error reduction is seen both in soil moisture and in 2-m temperature.

Full access
Chunxue Yang
,
Chiara Cagnazzo
,
Vincenzo Artale
,
Bruno Buongiorno Nardelli
,
Carlo Buontempo
,
Jacopo Busatto
,
Luca Caporaso
,
Claudia Cesarini
,
Irene Cionni
,
John Coll
,
Bas Crezee
,
Paolo Cristofanelli
,
Vincenzo de Toma
,
Yassmin Hesham Essa
,
Veronika Eyring
,
Federico Fierli
,
Luke Grant
,
Birgit Hassler
,
Martin Hirschi
,
Philippe Huybrechts
,
Eva Le Merle
,
Francesca Elisa Leonelli
,
Xia Lin
,
Fabio Madonna
,
Evan Mason
,
François Massonnet
,
Marta Marcos
,
Salvatore Marullo
,
Benjamin Müller
,
Andre Obregon
,
Emanuele Organelli
,
Artur Palacz
,
Ananda Pascual
,
Andrea Pisano
,
Davide Putero
,
Arun Rana
,
Antonio Sánchez-Román
,
Sonia I. Seneviratne
,
Federico Serva
,
Andrea Storto
,
Wim Thiery
,
Peter Throne
,
Lander Van Tricht
,
Yoni Verhaegen
,
Gianluca Volpe
, and
Rosalia Santoleri

Abstract

If climate services are to lead to effective use of climate information in decision-making to enable the transition to a climate-smart, climate-ready world, then the question of trust in the products and services is of paramount importance. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has been actively grappling with how to build such trust: provision of demonstrably independent assessments of the quality of products, which was deemed an important element in such trust-building processes. C3S provides access to essential climate variables (ECVs) from multiple sources to a broad set of users ranging from scientists to private companies and decision-makers. Here we outline the approach ­undertaken to coherently assess the quality of a suite of observation- and reanalysis-based ECV products covering the atmosphere, ocean, land, and cryosphere. The assessment is based on four pillars: basic data checks, maturity of the datasets, fitness for purpose (scientific use cases and climate studies), and guidance to users. It is undertaken independently by scientific experts and presented alongside the datasets in a fully traceable, replicable, and transparent manner. The methodology deployed is detailed, and example assessments are given. These independent scientific quality assessments are intended to guide users to ensure they use tools and datasets that are fit for purpose to answer their specific needs rather than simply use the first product they alight on. This is the first such effort to develop and apply an assessment framework consistently to all ECVs. Lessons learned and future perspectives are outlined to potentially improve future assessment activities and thus climate services.

Open access
Robert J. H. Dunn
,
John B. Miller
,
Kate M. Willett
,
Nadine Gobron
,
Melanie Ades
,
Robert Adler
,
Mihai Alexe
,
Richard P. Allan
,
John Anderson
,
Orlane Anneville
,
Yasuyuki Aono
,
Anthony Arguez
,
Carlo Arosio
,
John A. Augustine
,
Cesar Azorin-Molina
,
Jonathan Barichivich
,
John E. Barnes
,
Hylke E. Beck
,
Nicolas Bellouin
,
Angela Benedetti
,
Kevin Blagrave
,
Stephen Blenkinsop
,
Olivier Bock
,
Xavier Bodin
,
Michael Bosilovich
,
Olivier Boucher
,
Dennis Buechler
,
Stefan A. Buehler
,
Diego Campos
,
Laura Carrea
,
Kai-Lan Chang
,
Hanne H. Christiansen
,
John R. Christy
,
Eui-Seok Chung
,
Laura M. Ciasto
,
Scott Clingan
,
Melanie Coldewey-Egbers
,
Owen R. Cooper
,
Richard C. Cornes
,
Curt Covey
,
Jean-François Créatux
,
Theresa Crimmins
,
Thomas Cropper
,
Molly Crotwell
,
Joshua Culpepper
,
Diego Cusicanqui
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Richard A. M. de Jeu
,
Doug Degenstein
,
Reynald Delaloye
,
Martin T. Dokulil
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Wouter A. Dorigo
,
Hilary A. Dugan
,
Imke Durre
,
Geoff Dutton
,
Gregory Duveiller
,
Thomas W. Estilow
,
Nicole Estrella
,
David Fereday
,
Vitali E. Fioletov
,
Johannes Flemming
,
Michael J. Foster
,
Bryan Franz
,
Stacey M. Frith
,
Lucien Froidevaux
,
Martin Füllekrug
,
Judith Garforth
,
Jay Garg
,
Badin Gibbes
,
Steven Goodman
,
Atsushi Goto
,
Alexander Gruber
,
Guojun Gu
,
Sebastian Hahn
,
Leopold Haimberger
,
Bradley D. Hall
,
Ian Harris
,
Deborah L. Hemming
,
Martin Hirschi
,
(Ben)
,
Robert Holzworth
,
Filip Hrbáček
,
Guojie Hu
,
Dale F. Hurst
,
Antje Inness
,
Ketil Isaksen
,
Viju O. John
,
Philip D. Jones
,
Robert Junod
,
Andreas Kääb
,
Johannes W. Kaiser
,
Viktor Kaufmann
,
Andreas Kellerer-Pirklbauer
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
Richard Kidd
,
Zak Kipling
,
Akash Koppa
,
Benjamin M. Kraemer
,
Natalya Kramarova
,
Andries Kruger
,
Sofia La Fuente
,
Alo Laas
,
Xin Lan
,
Timothy Lang
,
Kathleen O. Lantz
,
David A. Lavers
,
Thierry Leblanc
,
Eric M. Leibensperger
,
Chris Lennard
,
Yakun Liu
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Diego Loyola
,
Stephen C. Maberly
,
Remi Madelon
,
Florence Magnin
,
Shin-Ichiro Matsuzaki
,
Linda May
,
Michael Mayer
,
Matthew F. McCabe
,
Tim R. McVicar
,
Carl A. Mears
,
Annette Menzel
,
Christopher J. Merchant
,
Michael F. Meyer
,
Diego G. Miralles
,
Leander Moesinger
,
Ghislaine Monet
,
Stephan A. Montzka
,
Colin Morice
,
Ivan Mrekaj
,
Jens Mühle
,
David Nance
,
Julien P. Nicolas
,
Jeannette Noetzli
,
Ben Noll
,
John O’Keefe
,
Timothy J. Osborn
,
Taejin Park
,
Mark Parrington
,
Cécile Pellet
,
Mauri S. Pelto
,
Kyle Petersen
,
Coda Phillips
,
Don Pierson
,
Izidine Pinto
,
Stephen Po-Chedley
,
Paolo Pogliotti
,
Lorenzo Polvani
,
Wolfgang Preimesberger
,
Colin Price
,
Merja Pulkkanen
,
William J. Randel
,
Samuel Rémy
,
Lucrezia Ricciardulli
,
Andrew D. Richardson
,
David A. Robinson
,
Willy Rocha
,
Matthew Rodell
,
Nemesio Rodriguez-Fernandez
,
Karen H. Rosenlof
,
Alexei Rozanov
,
Jozef Rozkošný
,
Olga O. Rusanovskaya
,
This Rutishauser
,
C. T. Sabeerali
,
Ahira Sánchez-Lugo
,
Parnchai Sawaengphokhai
,
Verena Schenzinger
,
Robert W. Schlegel
,
Martin Schmid
,
Udo Schneider
,
Fumi Sezaki
,
Sapna Sharma
,
Lei Shi
,
Svetlana V. Shimaraeva
,
Eugene A. Silow
,
Adrian J. Simmons
,
Sharon L. Smith
,
Brian J. Soden
,
Viktoria Sofieva
,
Tim H. Sparks
,
O.P. Sreejith
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
Ryan Stauffer
,
Wolfgang Steinbrecht
,
Andrea K. Steiner
,
Pietro Stradiotti
,
Dmitry A. Streletskiy
,
Divya E. Surendran
,
Stephen J. Thackeray
,
Emmanuel Thibert
,
Maxim A. Timofeyev
,
Kleareti Tourpali
,
Mari R. Tye
,
Ronald van der A
,
Robin van der Schalie
,
Gerard van der Schrier
,
Arnold J.H. van Vliet
,
Piet Verburg
,
Jean-Paul Vernier
,
Isaac J. Vimont
,
Katrina Virts
,
Sebastián Vivero
,
Holger Vömel
,
Russell S. Vose
,
Ray H. J. Wang
,
Xinyue Wang
,
Taran Warnock
,
Mark Weber
,
David N. Wiese
,
Jeannette D. Wild
,
Earle Williams
,
Takmeng Wong
,
Richard Iestyn Woolway
,
Xungang Yin
,
Zhenzhong Zeng
,
Lin Zhao
,
Xinjia Zhou
,
Jerry R. Ziemke
,
Markus Ziese
,
Ruxandra M. Zotta
,
Cheng-Zhi Zou
,
Jessicca Allen
,
Amy V. Camper
,
Bridgette O. Haley
,
Gregory Hammer
,
S. Elizabeth Love-Brotak
,
Laura Ohlmann
,
Lukas Noguchi
,
Deborah B. Riddle
, and
Sara W. Veasey
Open access
Robert J. H. Dunn
,
Freya Aldred
,
Nadine Gobron
,
John B. Miller
,
Kate M. Willett
,
Melanie Ades
,
Robert Adler
,
R. P. Allan
,
John Anderson
,
Orlane Anneville
,
Yasuyuki Aono
,
Anthony Argüez
,
Carlo Arosio
,
John A. Augustine
,
Cesar Azorin-Molina
,
Jonathan Barichivich
,
Aman Basu
,
Hylke E. Beck
,
Nicolas Bellouin
,
Angela Benedetti
,
Kevin Blagrave
,
Stephen Blenkinsop
,
Olivier Bock
,
Xavier Bodin
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Olivier Boucher
,
Gerald Bove
,
Dennis Buechler
,
Stefan A. Buehler
,
Laura Carrea
,
Kai-Lan Chang
,
Hanne H. Christiansen
,
John R. Christy
,
Eui-Seok Chung
,
Laura M. Ciasto
,
Melanie Coldewey-Egbers
,
Owen R. Cooper
,
Richard C. Cornes
,
Curt Covey
,
Thomas Cropper
,
Molly Crotwell
,
Diego Cusicanqui
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Richard A. M. de Jeu
,
Doug Degenstein
,
Reynald Delaloye
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Wouter A. Dorigo
,
Imke Durre
,
Geoff S. Dutton
,
Gregory Duveiller
,
James W. Elkins
,
Thomas W. Estilow
,
Nava Fedaeff
,
David Fereday
,
Vitali E. Fioletov
,
Johannes Flemming
,
Michael J. Foster
,
Stacey M. Frith
,
Lucien Froidevaux
,
Martin Füllekrug
,
Judith Garforth
,
Jay Garg
,
Matthew Gentry
,
Steven Goodman
,
Qiqi Gou
,
Nikolay Granin
,
Mauro Guglielmin
,
Sebastian Hahn
,
Leopold Haimberger
,
Brad D. Hall
,
Ian Harris
,
Debbie L. Hemming
,
Martin Hirschi
,
Shu-pen (Ben) Ho
,
Robert Holzworth
,
Filip Hrbáček
,
Daan Hubert
,
Petra Hulsman
,
Dale F. Hurst
,
Antje Inness
,
Ketil Isaksen
,
Viju O. John
,
Philip D. Jones
,
Robert Junod
,
Andreas Kääb
,
Johannes W. Kaiser
,
Viktor Kaufmann
,
Andreas Kellerer-Pirklbauer
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
Richard Kidd
,
Hyungiun Kim
,
Zak Kipling
,
Akash Koppa
,
Jan Henning L’Abée-Lund
,
Xin Lan
,
Kathleen O. Lantz
,
David Lavers
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Diego Loyola
,
Remi Madelon
,
Hilmar J. Malmquist
,
Wlodzimierz Marszelewski
,
Michael Mayer
,
Matthew F. McCabe
,
Tim R. McVicar
,
Carl A. Mears
,
Annette Menzel
,
Christopher J. Merchant
,
Diego G. Miralles
,
Stephen A. Montzka
,
Colin Morice
,
Leander Mösinger
,
Jens Mühle
,
Julien P. Nicolas
,
Jeannette Noetzli
,
Tiina Nõges
,
Ben Noll
,
John O’Keefe
,
Tim J. Osborn
,
Taejin Park
,
Cecile Pellet
,
Maury S. Pelto
,
Sarah E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick
,
Coda Phillips
,
Stephen Po-Chedley
,
Lorenzo Polvani
,
Wolfgang Preimesberger
,
Colin Price
,
Merja Pulkkanen
,
Dominik G. Rains
,
William J. Randel
,
Samuel Rémy
,
Lucrezia Ricciardulli
,
Andrew D. Richardson
,
David A. Robinson
,
Matthew Rodell
,
Nemesio J. Rodríguez-Fernández
,
Karen H. Rosenlof
,
Chris Roth
,
Alexei Rozanov
,
This Rutishäuser
,
Ahira Sánchez-Lugo
,
Parnchai Sawaengphokhai
,
Verena Schenzinger
,
Robert W. Schlegel
,
Udo Schneider
,
Sapna Sharma
,
Lei Shi
,
Adrian J. Simmons
,
Carolina Siso
,
Sharon L. Smith
,
Brian J. Soden
,
Viktoria Sofieva
,
Tim H. Sparks
,
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.
,
Ryan Stauffer
,
Wolfgang Steinbrecht
,
Andrea K. Steiner
,
Kenton Stewart
,
Pietro Stradiotti
,
Dimitri A. Streletskiy
,
Hagen Telg
,
Stephen J. Thackeray
,
Emmanuel Thibert
,
Michael Todt
,
Daisuke Tokuda
,
Kleareti Tourpali
,
Mari R. Tye
,
Ronald van der A
,
Robin van der Schalie
,
Gerard van der Schrier
,
Mendy van der Vliet
,
Guido R. van der Werf
,
Arnold. van Vliet
,
Jean-Paul Vernier
,
Isaac J. Vimont
,
Katrina Virts
,
Sebastiàn Vivero
,
Holger Vömel
,
Russell S. Vose
,
Ray H. J. Wang
,
Markus Weber
,
David Wiese
,
Jeanette D. Wild
,
Earle Williams
,
Takmeng Wong
,
R. I. Woolway
,
Xungang Yin
,
Ye Yuan
,
Lin Zhao
,
Xinjia Zhou
,
Jerry R. Ziemke
,
Markus Ziese
, and
Ruxandra M. Zotta
Free access
Robert J. H. Dunn
,
F. Aldred
,
Nadine Gobron
,
John B. Miller
,
Kate M. Willett
,
M. Ades
,
Robert Adler
,
Richard, P. Allan
,
Rob Allan
,
J. Anderson
,
Anthony Argüez
,
C. Arosio
,
John A. Augustine
,
C. Azorin-Molina
,
J. Barichivich
,
H. E. Beck
,
Andreas Becker
,
Nicolas Bellouin
,
Angela Benedetti
,
David I. Berry
,
Stephen Blenkinsop
,
Olivier Bock
,
X. Bodin
,
Michael G. Bosilovich
,
Olivier Boucher
,
S. A. Buehler
,
B. Calmettes
,
Laura Carrea
,
Laura Castia
,
Hanne H. Christiansen
,
John R. Christy
,
E.-S. Chung
,
Melanie Coldewey-Egbers
,
Owen R. Cooper
,
Richard C. Cornes
,
Curt Covey
,
J.-F. Cretaux
,
M. Crotwell
,
Sean M. Davis
,
Richard A. M. de Jeu
,
Doug Degenstein
,
R. Delaloye
,
Larry Di Girolamo
,
Markus G. Donat
,
Wouter A. Dorigo
,
Imke Durre
,
Geoff S. Dutton
,
Gregory Duveiller
,
James W. Elkins
,
Vitali E. Fioletov
,
Johannes Flemming
,
Michael J. Foster
,
Stacey M. Frith
,
Lucien Froidevaux
,
J. Garforth
,
Matthew Gentry
,
S. K. Gupta
,
S. Hahn
,
Leopold Haimberger
,
Brad D. Hall
,
Ian Harris
,
D. L. Hemming
,
M. Hirschi
,
Shu-pen (Ben) Ho
,
F. Hrbacek
,
Daan Hubert
,
Dale F. Hurst
,
Antje Inness
,
K. Isaksen
,
Viju O. John
,
Philip D. Jones
,
Robert Junod
,
J. W. Kaiser
,
V. Kaufmann
,
A. Kellerer-Pirklbauer
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
R. Kidd
,
Hyungjun Kim
,
Z. Kipling
,
A. Koppa
,
B. M. Kraemer
,
D. P. Kratz
,
Xin Lan
,
Kathleen O. Lantz
,
D. Lavers
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Diego Loyola
,
R. Madelon
,
Michael Mayer
,
M. F. McCabe
,
Tim R. McVicar
,
Carl A. Mears
,
Christopher J. Merchant
,
Diego G. Miralles
,
L. Moesinger
,
Stephen A. Montzka
,
Colin Morice
,
L. Mösinger
,
Jens Mühle
,
Julien P. Nicolas
,
Jeannette Noetzli
,
Ben Noll
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Abstract

—J. BLUNDEN, T. BOYER, AND E. BARTOW-GILLIES

Earth’s global climate system is vast, complex, and intricately interrelated. Many areas are influenced by global-scale phenomena, including the “triple dip” La Niña conditions that prevailed in the eastern Pacific Ocean nearly continuously from mid-2020 through all of 2022; by regional phenomena such as the positive winter and summer North Atlantic Oscillation that impacted weather in parts the Northern Hemisphere and the negative Indian Ocean dipole that impacted weather in parts of the Southern Hemisphere; and by more localized systems such as high-pressure heat domes that caused extreme heat in different areas of the world. Underlying all these natural short-term variabilities are long-term climate trends due to continuous increases since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the atmospheric concentrations of Earth’s major greenhouse gases.

In 2022, the annual global average carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere rose to 417.1±0.1 ppm, which is 50% greater than the pre-industrial level. Global mean tropospheric methane abundance was 165% higher than its pre-industrial level, and nitrous oxide was 24% higher. All three gases set new record-high atmospheric concentration levels in 2022.

Sea-surface temperature patterns in the tropical Pacific characteristic of La Niña and attendant atmospheric patterns tend to mitigate atmospheric heat gain at the global scale, but the annual global surface temperature across land and oceans was still among the six highest in records dating as far back as the mid-1800s. It was the warmest La Niña year on record. Many areas observed record or near-record heat. Europe as a whole observed its second-warmest year on record, with sixteen individual countries observing record warmth at the national scale. Records were shattered across the continent during the summer months as heatwaves plagued the region. On 18 July, 104 stations in France broke their all-time records. One day later, England recorded a temperature of 40°C for the first time ever. China experienced its second-warmest year and warmest summer on record. In the Southern Hemisphere, the average temperature across New Zealand reached a record high for the second year in a row. While Australia’s annual temperature was slightly below the 1991–2020 average, Onslow Airport in Western Australia reached 50.7°C on 13 January, equaling Australia's highest temperature on record.

While fewer in number and locations than record-high temperatures, record cold was also observed during the year. Southern Africa had its coldest August on record, with minimum temperatures as much as 5°C below normal over Angola, western Zambia, and northern Namibia. Cold outbreaks in the first half of December led to many record-low daily minimum temperature records in eastern Australia.

The effects of rising temperatures and extreme heat were apparent across the Northern Hemisphere, where snow-cover extent by June 2022 was the third smallest in the 56-year record, and the seasonal duration of lake ice cover was the fourth shortest since 1980. More frequent and intense heatwaves contributed to the second-greatest average mass balance loss for Alpine glaciers around the world since the start of the record in 1970. Glaciers in the Swiss Alps lost a record 6% of their volume. In South America, the combination of drought and heat left many central Andean glaciers snow free by mid-summer in early 2022; glacial ice has a much lower albedo than snow, leading to accelerated heating of the glacier. Across the global cryosphere, permafrost temperatures continued to reach record highs at many high-latitude and mountain locations.

In the high northern latitudes, the annual surface-air temperature across the Arctic was the fifth highest in the 123-year record. The seasonal Arctic minimum sea-ice extent, typically reached in September, was the 11th-smallest in the 43-year record; however, the amount of multiyear ice—ice that survives at least one summer melt season—remaining in the Arctic continued to decline. Since 2012, the Arctic has been nearly devoid of ice more than four years old.

In Antarctica, an unusually large amount of snow and ice fell over the continent in 2022 due to several landfalling atmospheric rivers, which contributed to the highest annual surface mass balance, 15% to 16% above the 1991–2020 normal, since the start of two reanalyses records dating to 1980. It was the second-warmest year on record for all five of the long-term staffed weather stations on the Antarctic Peninsula. In East Antarctica, a heatwave event led to a new all-time record-high temperature of −9.4°C—44°C above the March average—on 18 March at Dome C. This was followed by the collapse of the critically unstable Conger Ice Shelf. More than 100 daily low sea-ice extent and sea-ice area records were set in 2022, including two new all-time annual record lows in net sea-ice extent and area in February.

Across the world’s oceans, global mean sea level was record high for the 11th consecutive year, reaching 101.2 mm above the 1993 average when satellite altimetry measurements began, an increase of 3.3±0.7 over 2021. Globally-averaged ocean heat content was also record high in 2022, while the global sea-surface temperature was the sixth highest on record, equal with 2018. Approximately 58% of the ocean surface experienced at least one marine heatwave in 2022. In the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand’s longest continuous marine heatwave was recorded.

A total of 85 named tropical storms were observed during the Northern and Southern Hemisphere storm seasons, close to the 1991–2020 average of 87. There were three Category 5 tropical cyclones across the globe—two in the western North Pacific and one in the North Atlantic. This was the fewest Category 5 storms globally since 2017. Globally, the accumulated cyclone energy was the lowest since reliable records began in 1981. Regardless, some storms caused massive damage. In the North Atlantic, Hurricane Fiona became the most intense and most destructive tropical or post-tropical cyclone in Atlantic Canada’s history, while major Hurricane Ian killed more than 100 people and became the third costliest disaster in the United States, causing damage estimated at $113 billion U.S. dollars. In the South Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclone Batsirai dropped 2044 mm of rain at Commerson Crater in Réunion. The storm also impacted Madagascar, where 121 fatalities were reported.

As is typical, some areas around the world were notably dry in 2022 and some were notably wet. In August, record high areas of land across the globe (6.2%) were experiencing extreme drought. Overall, 29% of land experienced moderate or worse categories of drought during the year. The largest drought footprint in the contiguous United States since 2012 (63%) was observed in late October. The record-breaking megadrought of central Chile continued in its 13th consecutive year, and 80-year record-low river levels in northern Argentina and Paraguay disrupted fluvial transport. In China, the Yangtze River reached record-low values. Much of equatorial eastern Africa had five consecutive below-normal rainy seasons by the end of 2022, with some areas receiving record-low precipitation totals for the year. This ongoing 2.5-year drought is the most extensive and persistent drought event in decades, and led to crop failure, millions of livestock deaths, water scarcity, and inflated prices for staple food items.

In South Asia, Pakistan received around three times its normal volume of monsoon precipitation in August, with some regions receiving up to eight times their expected monthly totals. Resulting floods affected over 30 million people, caused over 1700 fatalities, led to major crop and property losses, and was recorded as one of the world’s costliest natural disasters of all time. Near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petrópolis received 530 mm in 24 hours on 15 February, about 2.5 times the monthly February average, leading to the worst disaster in the city since 1931 with over 230 fatalities.

On 14–15 January, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai submarine volcano in the South Pacific erupted multiple times. The injection of water into the atmosphere was unprecedented in both magnitude—far exceeding any previous values in the 17-year satellite record—and altitude as it penetrated into the mesosphere. The amount of water injected into the stratosphere is estimated to be 146±5 Terragrams, or ∼10% of the total amount in the stratosphere. It may take several years for the water plume to dissipate, and it is currently unknown whether this eruption will have any long-term climate effect.

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