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Mark Reyers, Christoph Boehm, Leon Knarr, Yaping Shao, and Susanne Crewell

Abstract

In this study, reanalysis data and a long-term simulation with the regional climate model WRF (1982–2017; 10 km resolution) is used to analyze synoptic and regional processes associated with rainfall events in the Atacama Desert. Five composites, each with 10 WRF-simulated rainfall events, are studied. They are selected based on a clustering and comprise the top winter events in South Atacama (23°–26°S), Southeast Atacama, and North Atacama (18°–23°S), and the top summer events in North Atacama and Northeast Atacama. Winter rainfall events in South Atacama are mostly associated with strong low pressure systems over the southeast Pacific and atmospheric rivers at their foreside, while cutoff lows occurring anomalously far north facilitate strong rainfall in North Atacama. Accordingly, tropical continental areas and the remote tropical and subtropical Pacific are identified as primary moisture sources, and moisture transport toward the Atacama Desert mainly takes place in the free troposphere (above 800 hPa). Strong summer rainfall events in North Atacama and Northeast Atacama are associated with a southward displaced Bolivian high. During rainfall events in North Atacama the high is shifted westward when compared to the Northeast Atacama events. Consequently, northern Chile is located at the northern periphery of the Bolivian high and the resulting strong easterlies may push strong convective systems from the Altiplano, toward the Atacama coast. Detailed analyses of individual rainfall events reveal that the most important synoptic patterns associated with rainfall not only control the synoptic-scale moisture transport into the Atacama Desert, but also decisively influence the regional atmospheric circulation.

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Wen Zhou, Johnny C. L. Chan, Wen Chen, Jian Ling, Joaquim G. Pinto, and Yaping Shao

Abstract

In January 2008, central and southern China experienced persistent low temperatures, freezing rain, and snow. The large-scale conditions associated with the occurrence and development of these snowstorms are examined in order to identify the key synoptic controls leading to this event. Three main factors are identified: 1) the persistent blocking high over Siberia, which remained quasi-stationary around 65°E for 3 weeks, led to advection of dry and cold Siberian air down to central and southern China; 2) a strong persistent southwesterly flow associated with the western Pacific subtropical high led to enhanced moisture advection from the Bay of Bengal into central and southern China; and 3) the deep inversion layer in the lower troposphere associated with the extended snow cover over most of central and southern China. The combination of these three factors is likely responsible for the unusual severity of the event, and hence a long return period.

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Clemens Simmer, Insa Thiele-Eich, Matthieu Masbou, Wulf Amelung, Heye Bogena, Susanne Crewell, Bernd Diekkrüger, Frank Ewert, Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen, Johan Alexander Huisman, Andreas Kemna, Norbert Klitzsch, Stefan Kollet, Matthias Langensiepen, Ulrich Löhnert, A. S. M. Mostaquimur Rahman, Uwe Rascher, Karl Schneider, Jan Schween, Yaping Shao, Prabhakar Shrestha, Maik Stiebler, Mauro Sulis, Jan Vanderborght, Harry Vereecken, Jan van der Kruk, Guido Waldhoff, and Tanja Zerenner

Abstract

Most activities of humankind take place in the transition zone between four compartments of the terrestrial system: the unconfined aquifer, including the unsaturated zone; surface water; vegetation; and atmosphere. The mass, momentum, and heat energy fluxes between these compartments drive their mutual state evolution. Improved understanding of the processes that drive these fluxes is important for climate projections, weather prediction, flood forecasting, water and soil resources management, agriculture, and water quality control. The different transport mechanisms and flow rates within the compartments result in complex patterns on different temporal and spatial scales that make predictions of the terrestrial system challenging for scientists and policy makers. The Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 32 (TR32) was formed in 2007 to integrate monitoring with modeling and data assimilation in order to develop a holistic view of the terrestrial system. TR32 is a long-term research program funded by the German national science foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), in order to focus and integrate research activities of several universities on an emerging scientific topic of high societal relevance. Aiming to bridge the gap between microscale soil pores and catchment-scale atmospheric variables, TR32 unites research groups from the German universities of Aachen, Bonn, and Cologne, and from the environmental and geoscience departments of Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH. Here, we report about recent achievements in monitoring and modeling of the terrestrial system, including the development of new observation techniques for the subsurface, the establishment of cross-scale, multicompartment modeling platforms from the pore to the catchment scale, and their use to investigate the propagation of patterns in the state and structure of the subsurface to the atmospheric boundary layer.

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