The Effect of SST and Soil Moisture Anomalies on GLA Model Simulations of the 1988 U.S. Summer Drought

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 2 Universities Space Research Association, Greenbeli, Maryland
  • | 3 General Sciences Corporation. Greenbelt. Maryland
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Abstract

A series of simulations of the late spring and early summer of 1988 were conducted in order to study the relative importance of different boundary forcings to the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres model's simulation of the heat wave and drought over the Great Plains of the United States during this time period. Separate 60- day simulations were generated from 10, 20, and 30 May 1988 with a variety of boundary condition datasets. For the control experiment, climatological boundary conditions were used. This was followed by experiments in which either the observed 1988 sea surface temperatures (SST) or derived 1988 soil moisture values, or both, were used in place of the climatological fields. Additional experiments were conducted in which only tropical or midlatitude SST anomalies were used.

The impact of the different boundary forcings was evaluated relative to the control simulations of the precipitation and surface air temperature over the Great Plains. It was found that the tropical SST anomalies had a significant effect in reducing precipitation in this area, while the midlatitude anomalies did not. Due to the prescribed climatological soil moistures for the SST experiments, a significant increase in surface temperature did not occur in these simulations. In contrast, the simulations with the anomalous 1988 soil moistures produced both a larger reduction of precipitation and a significant increase in surface temperature over the Great Plains. The simulations with both anomalous SST and soil moisture showed only a slight augmentation of the heat wave and drought relative to the experiments with anomalous soil moisture alone.

Abstract

A series of simulations of the late spring and early summer of 1988 were conducted in order to study the relative importance of different boundary forcings to the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres model's simulation of the heat wave and drought over the Great Plains of the United States during this time period. Separate 60- day simulations were generated from 10, 20, and 30 May 1988 with a variety of boundary condition datasets. For the control experiment, climatological boundary conditions were used. This was followed by experiments in which either the observed 1988 sea surface temperatures (SST) or derived 1988 soil moisture values, or both, were used in place of the climatological fields. Additional experiments were conducted in which only tropical or midlatitude SST anomalies were used.

The impact of the different boundary forcings was evaluated relative to the control simulations of the precipitation and surface air temperature over the Great Plains. It was found that the tropical SST anomalies had a significant effect in reducing precipitation in this area, while the midlatitude anomalies did not. Due to the prescribed climatological soil moistures for the SST experiments, a significant increase in surface temperature did not occur in these simulations. In contrast, the simulations with the anomalous 1988 soil moistures produced both a larger reduction of precipitation and a significant increase in surface temperature over the Great Plains. The simulations with both anomalous SST and soil moisture showed only a slight augmentation of the heat wave and drought relative to the experiments with anomalous soil moisture alone.

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