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Mengmeng Lu, Song Yang, Junbin Wang, Yuting Wu, and Xiaolong Jia

Abstract

The thermal effect of the entire Tibetan Plateau (TP) tends to strengthen the South Asian summer monsoon (SASM); however, how does this monsoon component respond to the thermal conditions of different TP domains? How do the thermal conditions of the entire TP influence other monsoons, including the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) and the Southeast Asian summer monsoon (SEASM)? These questions are addressed by conducting an experiment with the CESM, which is forced by reducing the surface albedo over the plateau by half, from a TP-averaged 0.20 to 0.10, from May to September, and similar experiments for different TP domains. Both observational and model results show that the entire TP heating intensifies the large-scale Asian monsoon, the SASM, and the EASM but surprisingly weakens the SEASM. It is also surprising that the TP heating exerts a stronger effect on the EASM than on the SASM. The southern TP (south of 35°N) does not show the strongest impact on the SASM in comparison with other TP domains, and it exerts the weakest impact on the EASM, which is most strongly influenced by the thermal effect of the eastern (east of 90°E) and northern TP. The western TP weakens the SEASM (as do the other domains), and it strengthens other monsoon components. The thermal conditions of the southern and eastern TP are accompanied by signals of tropical atmospheric response at relatively broader spatial scales, whereas those of the northern TP more apparently lead to a significant wave train extending eastward from the TP to western Eurasia over the higher latitudes.

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

Abstract

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.

Full access
Mary E. Whelan, Leander D. L. Anderegg, Grayson Badgley, J. Elliott Campbell, Roisin Commane, Christian Frankenberg, Timothy W. Hilton, Le Kuai, Nicholas Parazoo, Yoichi Shiga, Yuting Wang, and John Worden

Abstract

Where does the carbon released by burning fossil fuels go? Currently, ocean and land systems remove about half of the CO2 emitted by human activities; the remainder stays in the atmosphere. These removal processes are sensitive to feedbacks in the energy, carbon, and water cycles that will change in the future. Observing how much carbon is taken up on land through photosynthesis is complicated because carbon is simultaneously respired by plants, animals, and microbes. Global observations from satellites and air samples suggest that natural ecosystems take up about as much CO2 as they emit. To match the data, our land models generate imaginary Earths where carbon uptake and respiration are roughly balanced, but the absolute quantities of carbon being exchanged vary widely. Getting the magnitude of the flux is essential to make sure our models are capturing the right pattern for the right reasons. Combining two cutting-edge tools, carbonyl sulfide (OCS) and solar-induced fluorescence (SIF), will help develop an independent answer of how much carbon is being taken up by global ecosystems. Photosynthesis requires CO2, light, and water. OCS provides a spatially and temporally integrated picture of the “front door” of photosynthesis, proportional to CO2 uptake and water loss through plant stomata. SIF provides a high-resolution snapshot of the “side door,” scaling with the light captured by leaves. These two independent pieces of information help us understand plant water and carbon exchange. A coordinated effort to generate SIF and OCS data through satellite, airborne, and ground observations will improve our process-based models to predict how these cycles will change in the future.

Free access