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MONITORING PRESENT DAY CHANGES IN WATER VAPOUR AND THE RADIATIVE ENERGY BALANCE USING SATELLITE DATA,
 

Summary: MONITORING PRESENT DAY CHANGES IN WATER VAPOUR AND
THE RADIATIVE ENERGY BALANCE USING SATELLITE DATA,
REANALYSES AND MODELS
Richard P. Allan
Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, PO Box 238, Reading, Berkshire, UK
Abstract
A combination of satellite data, reanalysis products and climate models are combined to monitor
changes in water vapour, clear-sky radiative cooling of the atmosphere and precipitation over the
period 1979-2006. Climate models are able to simulate observed increases in column integrated water
vapour (CWV) with surface temperature (Ts) over the ocean. Changes in the observing system lead to
spurious variability in water vapour and clear-sky longwave radiation in reanalysis products.
Nevertheless all products considered exhibit a robust increase in clear-sky longwave radiative cooling
from the atmosphere to the surface; clear-sky longwave radiative cooling of the atmosphere is found
to increase with Ts at the rate of ~4 Wm
-2
K
-1
over tropical ocean regions of mean descending vertical
motion. Precipitation (P) is tightly coupled to atmospheric radiative cooling rates and this implies an
increase in P with warming at a slower rate than the observed increases in CWV. Since convective

  

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

 

Collections: Geosciences