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Title: Reconciling Precipitation with Runoff: Observed Hydrological Change in the Midlatitudes

Abstract

Century-long observed gridded land precipitation datasets are a cornerstone of hydrometeorological research. But recent work has suggested that observed Northern Hemisphere midlatitude (NHML) land mean precipitation does not show evidence of an expected negative response to mid-twentieth-century aerosol forcing. Utilizing observed river discharges, the observed runoff is calculated and compared with observed land precipitation. The results show a near-zero twentieth-century trend in observed NHML land mean runoff, in contrast to the significant positive trend in observed NHML land mean precipitation. However, precipitation and runoff share common interannual and decadal variability. An obvious split, or breakpoint, is found in the NHML land mean runoff-precipitation relationship in the 1930s. Using runoff simulated by six land surface models (LSMs), which are driven by the observed precipitation dataset, such breakpoints are absent. These findings support previous hypotheses that inhomogeneities exist in the early-twentieth-century NHML land mean precipitation record. Adjusting the observed precipitation record according to the observed runoff record largely accounts for the departure of the observed precipitation response from that predicted given the real-world aerosol forcing estimate, more than halving the discrepancy from about 6 to around 2 W m -2. Consideration of complementary observed runoff adds support to the suggestion that NHML-widemore » early-twentieth-century precipitation observations are unsuitable for climate change studies. The agreement between precipitation and runoff over Europe, however, is excellent, supporting the use of whole-twentieth-century observed precipitation datasets here.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [2];  [6];  [7];  [8]
  1. Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom). College of Engineering
  2. Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom). College of Life and Environmental Sciences
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  4. Montana State Univ., Bozeman, MT (United States). Dept. of Ecology
  5. Karlsruhe Inst. of Technology (KIT) (Germany)
  6. Univ. of Bern (Switzerland); Imperial College, London (United Kingdom)
  7. Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter (United Kingdom)
  8. Max Planck Society, Jena (Germany). Max Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1510740
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Hydrometeorology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1525-755X
Publisher:
American Meteorological Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Geographic location/entity; Land surface; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena; Precipitation; Runoff; Mathematical and statistical techniques; Changepoint analysis; Models and modeling; Land surface model; Variability; Climate variability

Citation Formats

Osborne, Joe M., Lambert, F. Hugo, Groenendijk, Margriet, Harper, Anna B., Koven, Charles D., Poulter, Benjamin, Pugh, Thomas A. M., Sitch, Stephen, Stocker, Benjamin D., Wiltshire, Andy, and Zaehle, Sönke. Reconciling Precipitation with Runoff: Observed Hydrological Change in the Midlatitudes. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1175/jhm-d-15-0055.1.
Osborne, Joe M., Lambert, F. Hugo, Groenendijk, Margriet, Harper, Anna B., Koven, Charles D., Poulter, Benjamin, Pugh, Thomas A. M., Sitch, Stephen, Stocker, Benjamin D., Wiltshire, Andy, & Zaehle, Sönke. Reconciling Precipitation with Runoff: Observed Hydrological Change in the Midlatitudes. United States. doi:10.1175/jhm-d-15-0055.1.
Osborne, Joe M., Lambert, F. Hugo, Groenendijk, Margriet, Harper, Anna B., Koven, Charles D., Poulter, Benjamin, Pugh, Thomas A. M., Sitch, Stephen, Stocker, Benjamin D., Wiltshire, Andy, and Zaehle, Sönke. Fri . "Reconciling Precipitation with Runoff: Observed Hydrological Change in the Midlatitudes". United States. doi:10.1175/jhm-d-15-0055.1. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1510740.
@article{osti_1510740,
title = {Reconciling Precipitation with Runoff: Observed Hydrological Change in the Midlatitudes},
author = {Osborne, Joe M. and Lambert, F. Hugo and Groenendijk, Margriet and Harper, Anna B. and Koven, Charles D. and Poulter, Benjamin and Pugh, Thomas A. M. and Sitch, Stephen and Stocker, Benjamin D. and Wiltshire, Andy and Zaehle, Sönke},
abstractNote = {Century-long observed gridded land precipitation datasets are a cornerstone of hydrometeorological research. But recent work has suggested that observed Northern Hemisphere midlatitude (NHML) land mean precipitation does not show evidence of an expected negative response to mid-twentieth-century aerosol forcing. Utilizing observed river discharges, the observed runoff is calculated and compared with observed land precipitation. The results show a near-zero twentieth-century trend in observed NHML land mean runoff, in contrast to the significant positive trend in observed NHML land mean precipitation. However, precipitation and runoff share common interannual and decadal variability. An obvious split, or breakpoint, is found in the NHML land mean runoff-precipitation relationship in the 1930s. Using runoff simulated by six land surface models (LSMs), which are driven by the observed precipitation dataset, such breakpoints are absent. These findings support previous hypotheses that inhomogeneities exist in the early-twentieth-century NHML land mean precipitation record. Adjusting the observed precipitation record according to the observed runoff record largely accounts for the departure of the observed precipitation response from that predicted given the real-world aerosol forcing estimate, more than halving the discrepancy from about 6 to around 2 W m-2. Consideration of complementary observed runoff adds support to the suggestion that NHML-wide early-twentieth-century precipitation observations are unsuitable for climate change studies. The agreement between precipitation and runoff over Europe, however, is excellent, supporting the use of whole-twentieth-century observed precipitation datasets here.},
doi = {10.1175/jhm-d-15-0055.1},
journal = {Journal of Hydrometeorology},
number = 6,
volume = 16,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {11}
}

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