The two mechanisms turn out to complement each other and together shape the spatial distribution of seasonal rainfall in the tropics, according to the study of a group of Chinese and Hawaii scientists that is published in the April 14, 2013, online issue of Nature Geoscience.
The one mechanism, called "wet-gets-wetter," predicts that rainfall should increase in regions that already have much rain, with a tendency for dry regions to get dryer. The second mechanism, called the "warmer-gets-wetter," predicts rainfall should increase in regions where sea surface temperature rises above the tropical average warming.
The team of scientists compared current rainfall in the tropics with future rainfall projections from simulations of 18 cutting-edge climate models forced with a likely scenario of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. They found that rainfall in the models increases more in regions that currently are already wet and decreases slightly in currently dry regions, supporting the wet-gets-wetter mechanism. But they also found evidence for the warmer-gets-wetter mechanism in that the higher the surface temperature in a region, the more the rainfall. By merging the impact from the two mechanisms, they noted that they could account for nearly 80 percent of the variations in the models' projected rainfall changes from global warming.
The complementary action of the two mechanisms is because the pattern of ocean warming induces more convection and rainfall near the Equator, where the temperature warming peaks, and subsidence and drying further away from the Equator, reflecting the warmer-gets-wetter view. But as this band of increased rain marches back and forth across the Equator with the Sun, it causes seasonal rainfall anomalies that follow the wet-gets-wetter pattern.
The wet-gets-wetter mechanism contributes more to the projected seasonal rainfall changes, whereas the warmer-gets-warmer mechanism more to the mean annual rainfall changes.
"Because our present observations of seasonal rainfall are much more reliable than the future sea surface temperatures, we can trust the models' projections of seasonal mean rainfall for regional patterns more than their annual mean projections," says co-author Shang-Ping Xie, meteorology professor at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa and Roger Revelle Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. "This is good news for monsoon regions where rainfall by definition is seasonal and limited to a short rainy season. Many highly populated countries under monsoon influences already face water shortages."
Citation: Ping Huang, Shang-Ping Xie, Kaiming Hu, Gang Huang, & Ronghui Huang: Patterns of the seasonal response of tropical rainfall to global warming. Nature Geoscience, AOP April 14, 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1792.
The work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB955604 and 2010CB950403), the China Natural Science Foundation (41105047 and 41275083), and the US National Science Foundation.
Author Contact: Shang-Ping Xie, currently at: firstname.lastname@example.org, (858) 822-0053, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
International Pacific Research Center Media Contact: Gisela E. Speidel, email@example.com. (808) 956-9252.
The International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is a climate research center founded to gain greater understanding of the climate system and the nature and causes of climate variation in the Asia-Pacific region and how global climate changes may affect the region. Established under the "U.S.-Japan Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective" in October 1997, the IPRC is a collaborative effort between agencies in Japan and the United States.
Gisela Speidel | EurekAlert!
PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences