A Moist Static Energy Budget–Based Analysis of the Sahel Rainfall Response to Uniform Oceanic Warming

A Moist Static Energy Budget–Based Analysis of the Sahel Rainfall Response to Uniform Oceanic... AbstractClimate models generate a wide range of precipitation responses to global warming in the African Sahel, but all that use the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory AM2.1 model as their atmospheric component dry the region sharply. This study compares the Sahel’s wet season response to uniform 2-K SST warming in AM2.1 using either its default convective parameterization, relaxed Arakawa–Schubert (RAS), or an alternate, the University of Washington (UW) parameterization, using the moist static energy (MSE) budget to diagnose the relevant mechanisms.UW generates a drier, cooler control Sahel climate than does RAS and a modest rainfall increase with SST warming rather than a sharp decrease. Horizontal advection of dry, low-MSE air from the Sahara Desert—a leading-order term in the control MSE budget with either parameterization—is enhanced with oceanic warming, driven by enhanced meridional MSE and moisture gradients spanning the Sahel. With RAS, this occurs throughout the free troposphere and is balanced by anomalous MSE import through anomalous subsidence, which must be especially large in the midtroposphere where the moist static stability is small. With UW, the strengthening of the meridional MSE gradient is mostly confined to the lower troposphere, due in part to comparatively shallow prevailing convection. This necessitates less subsidence, enabling convective and total precipitation to increase with UW, although both large-scale precipitation and precipitation minus evaporation decrease. This broad set of hydrological and energetic responses persists in simulations with SSTs varied over a wide range. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society

A Moist Static Energy Budget–Based Analysis of the Sahel Rainfall Response to Uniform Oceanic Warming

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0442
eISSN
1520-0442
D.O.I.
10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0785.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractClimate models generate a wide range of precipitation responses to global warming in the African Sahel, but all that use the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory AM2.1 model as their atmospheric component dry the region sharply. This study compares the Sahel’s wet season response to uniform 2-K SST warming in AM2.1 using either its default convective parameterization, relaxed Arakawa–Schubert (RAS), or an alternate, the University of Washington (UW) parameterization, using the moist static energy (MSE) budget to diagnose the relevant mechanisms.UW generates a drier, cooler control Sahel climate than does RAS and a modest rainfall increase with SST warming rather than a sharp decrease. Horizontal advection of dry, low-MSE air from the Sahara Desert—a leading-order term in the control MSE budget with either parameterization—is enhanced with oceanic warming, driven by enhanced meridional MSE and moisture gradients spanning the Sahel. With RAS, this occurs throughout the free troposphere and is balanced by anomalous MSE import through anomalous subsidence, which must be especially large in the midtroposphere where the moist static stability is small. With UW, the strengthening of the meridional MSE gradient is mostly confined to the lower troposphere, due in part to comparatively shallow prevailing convection. This necessitates less subsidence, enabling convective and total precipitation to increase with UW, although both large-scale precipitation and precipitation minus evaporation decrease. This broad set of hydrological and energetic responses persists in simulations with SSTs varied over a wide range.

Journal

Journal of ClimateAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Aug 31, 2017

References

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