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Land-atmosphere feedbacks amplify aridity increase over land under global warming

Berg, Alexis; Findell, Kirsten; Lintner, Benjamin; Giannini, Alessandra; Seneviratne, Sonia I.; Van Den Hurk, Bart; Lorenz, Ruth; Pitman, Andy; Hagemann, Stefan and Meier, Arndt LU , et al. (2016) In Nature Climate Change 6(9). p.869-874
Abstract

The response of the terrestrial water cycle to global warming is central to issues including water resources, agriculture and ecosystem health. Recent studies indicate that aridity, defined in terms of atmospheric supply (precipitation, P) and demand (potential evapotranspiration, E p) of water at the land surface, will increase globally in a warmer world. Recently proposed mechanisms for this response emphasize the driving role of oceanic warming and associated atmospheric processes. Here we show that the aridity response is substantially amplified by land-atmosphere feedbacks associated with the land surface's response to climate and CO 2 change. Using simulations from the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5... (More)

The response of the terrestrial water cycle to global warming is central to issues including water resources, agriculture and ecosystem health. Recent studies indicate that aridity, defined in terms of atmospheric supply (precipitation, P) and demand (potential evapotranspiration, E p) of water at the land surface, will increase globally in a warmer world. Recently proposed mechanisms for this response emphasize the driving role of oceanic warming and associated atmospheric processes. Here we show that the aridity response is substantially amplified by land-atmosphere feedbacks associated with the land surface's response to climate and CO 2 change. Using simulations from the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5 experiment, we show that global aridity is enhanced by the feedbacks of projected soil moisture decrease on land surface temperature, relative humidity and precipitation. The physiological impact of increasing atmospheric CO 2 on vegetation exerts a qualitatively similar control on aridity. We reconcile these findings with previously proposed mechanisms by showing that the moist enthalpy change over land is unaffected by the land hydrological response. Thus, although oceanic warming constrains the combined moisture and temperature changes over land, land hydrology modulates the partitioning of this enthalpy increase towards increased aridity.

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Nature Climate Change
volume
6
issue
9
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6 pages
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Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:84983616618
ISSN
1758-678X
DOI
10.1038/nclimate3029
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English
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yes
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c29b0536-c455-4ade-91ac-f5ffeaefcb97
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2016-12-02 12:37:36
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2017-11-12 04:26:42
@article{c29b0536-c455-4ade-91ac-f5ffeaefcb97,
  abstract     = {<p>The response of the terrestrial water cycle to global warming is central to issues including water resources, agriculture and ecosystem health. Recent studies indicate that aridity, defined in terms of atmospheric supply (precipitation, P) and demand (potential evapotranspiration, E p) of water at the land surface, will increase globally in a warmer world. Recently proposed mechanisms for this response emphasize the driving role of oceanic warming and associated atmospheric processes. Here we show that the aridity response is substantially amplified by land-atmosphere feedbacks associated with the land surface's response to climate and CO 2 change. Using simulations from the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5 experiment, we show that global aridity is enhanced by the feedbacks of projected soil moisture decrease on land surface temperature, relative humidity and precipitation. The physiological impact of increasing atmospheric CO 2 on vegetation exerts a qualitatively similar control on aridity. We reconcile these findings with previously proposed mechanisms by showing that the moist enthalpy change over land is unaffected by the land hydrological response. Thus, although oceanic warming constrains the combined moisture and temperature changes over land, land hydrology modulates the partitioning of this enthalpy increase towards increased aridity.</p>},
  author       = {Berg, Alexis and Findell, Kirsten and Lintner, Benjamin and Giannini, Alessandra and Seneviratne, Sonia I. and Van Den Hurk, Bart and Lorenz, Ruth and Pitman, Andy and Hagemann, Stefan and Meier, Arndt and Cheruy, Frédérique and Ducharne, Agnès and Malyshev, Sergey and Milly, P. C D},
  issn         = {1758-678X},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {869--874},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Climate Change},
  title        = {Land-atmosphere feedbacks amplify aridity increase over land under global warming},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3029},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2016},
}