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Title: On the Utility (or Futility) of Using Stable Water Isotopes to Constrain the Bulk Properties of Tropical Convection

Abstract

Atmospheric water-vapor isotopes have been proposed as a potentially powerful constraint on convection, which plays a critical role in Earth's present and future climate. It is shown here, however, that the mean tropical profile of HDO in the free troposphere does not usefully constrain the mean convective entrainment rate or precipitation efficiency. This is demonstrated using a single-column analytical model of atmospheric water isotopes. The model has three parameters: the entrainment rate, the precipitation efficiency, and the distance that evaporating condensates fall. At a given relative humidity, the possible range of HDO is small: its range is comparable to both the measurement uncertainty in the mean tropical profile and the structural uncertainty of a single-column model. Therefore, the mean tropical HDO profile is unlikely to add information about convective processes in a bulk-plume framework that cannot already be learned from relative humidity alone.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Tsinghua University, Beijing (China). Department of Earth System Science
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Department of Earth and Planetary Science; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Climate & Ecosystem Sciences Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1465701
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 2; Related Information: © 2018. The Authors.; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; convection; water isotope; entrainment; precipitation efficiency; analytical model

Citation Formats

Duan, Suqin Q., Wright, Jonathon S., and Romps, David M. On the Utility (or Futility) of Using Stable Water Isotopes to Constrain the Bulk Properties of Tropical Convection. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/2017MS001074.
Duan, Suqin Q., Wright, Jonathon S., & Romps, David M. On the Utility (or Futility) of Using Stable Water Isotopes to Constrain the Bulk Properties of Tropical Convection. United States. doi:10.1002/2017MS001074.
Duan, Suqin Q., Wright, Jonathon S., and Romps, David M. Wed . "On the Utility (or Futility) of Using Stable Water Isotopes to Constrain the Bulk Properties of Tropical Convection". United States. doi:10.1002/2017MS001074. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1465701.
@article{osti_1465701,
title = {On the Utility (or Futility) of Using Stable Water Isotopes to Constrain the Bulk Properties of Tropical Convection},
author = {Duan, Suqin Q. and Wright, Jonathon S. and Romps, David M.},
abstractNote = {Atmospheric water-vapor isotopes have been proposed as a potentially powerful constraint on convection, which plays a critical role in Earth's present and future climate. It is shown here, however, that the mean tropical profile of HDO in the free troposphere does not usefully constrain the mean convective entrainment rate or precipitation efficiency. This is demonstrated using a single-column analytical model of atmospheric water isotopes. The model has three parameters: the entrainment rate, the precipitation efficiency, and the distance that evaporating condensates fall. At a given relative humidity, the possible range of HDO is small: its range is comparable to both the measurement uncertainty in the mean tropical profile and the structural uncertainty of a single-column model. Therefore, the mean tropical HDO profile is unlikely to add information about convective processes in a bulk-plume framework that cannot already be learned from relative humidity alone.},
doi = {10.1002/2017MS001074},
journal = {Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems},
number = 2,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

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