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Title: On the connection between continental-scale land surface processes and the tropical climate in a coupled ocean-atmosphere-land system

The impact of global tropical climate to perturbations in land surface processes (LSP) are evaluated using perturbations given by different LSP representations of continental-scale in a global climate model that includes atmosphere-ocean interactions. One representation is a simple land scheme, which specifies climatological albedos and soil moisture availability. The other representation is the more comprehensive Simplified Simple Biosphere Model, which allows for interactive soil moisture and vegetation biophysical processes. The results demonstrate that LSP processes such as interactive soil moisture and vegetation biophysical processes have strong impacts on the seasonal mean states and seasonal cycles of global precipitation, clouds, and surface air temperature. The impact is especially significant over the tropical Pacific. To explore the mechanisms for such impact, different LSP representations are confined to selected continental-scale regions where strong interactions of climate-vegetation biophysical processes are present. We find that the largest impact is mainly from LSP perturbations over the tropical African continent. The impact is through anomalous convective heating in tropical Africa due to changes in the surface heat fluxes, which in turn affect basinwide teleconnections in the Pacific through equatorial wave dynamics. The modifications in the equatorial Pacific climate are further enhanced by strong air-sea coupling between surfacemore » wind stress and upwelling, as well as effect of ocean memory. Our results further suggest that correct representations of land surface processes, land use change and the associated changes in the deep convection over tropical Africa are crucial to reducing the uncertainty when performing future climate projections under different climate change scenarios.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Climate, 26(22):9006-9025
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States