AbstractGlobal and regional climate model ensembles project that the annual cycle of rainfall over the southern Great Plains (SGP) will amplify by midcentury. Models indicate that warm-season precipitation will increase during the early spring wet season but shift north earlier in the season, intensifying late summer drying. Regional climate models (RCMs) project larger precipitation changes than their global climate model (GCM) counterparts. This is particularly true during the dry season. The credibility of the RCM projections is established by exploring the larger-scale dynamical and local land–atmosphere feedback processes that drive future changes in the simulations, that is, the responsible mechanisms or processes. In this case, it is found that out of 12 RCM simulations produced for the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP), the majority are mechanistically credible and consistent in the mean changes they are producing in the SGP. Both larger-scale dynamical processes and local land–atmosphere feedbacks drive an earlier end to the spring wet period and deepening of the summer dry season in the SGP. The midlatitude upper-level jet shifts northward, the monsoon anticyclone expands, and the Great Plains low-level jet increases in strength, all supporting a poleward shift in precipitation in the future. This dynamically forced shift causes land–atmosphere coupling to strengthen earlier in the summer, which in turn leads to earlier evaporation of soil moisture in the summer, resulting in extreme drying later in the summer.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 18, 2017
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