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Water vapor variability in the tropics and its links to dynamics and precipitation

Summary: Water vapor variability in the tropics and its links to dynamics and
Igor I. Zveryaev
P. P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Richard P. Allan
Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, Reading, UK
Received 31 March 2005; revised 3 June 2005; accepted 18 July 2005; published 12 November 2005.
[1] The distribution and variability of water vapor and its links with radiative cooling and
latent heating via precipitation are crucial to understanding feedbacks and processes
operating within the climate system. Column-integrated water vapor (CWV) and
additional variables from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
(ECMWF) 40-year reanalysis (ERA40) are utilized to quantify the spatial and temporal
variability in tropical water vapor over the period 1979­2001. The moisture variability is
partitioned between dynamical and thermodynamic influences and compared with
variations in precipitation provided by the Climate Prediction Center Merged Analysis of
Precipitation (CMAP) and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP). The
spatial distribution of CWV is strongly determined by thermodynamic constraints. Spatial
variability in CWV is dominated by changes in the large-scale dynamics, in particular
associated with the El Nin~o­Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Trends in CWV are also
dominated by dynamics rather than thermodynamics over the period considered. However,


Source: Allan, Richard P. - Department of Meteorology, University of Reading


Collections: Geosciences