AbstractGlobal climate models are beginning to include explicit treatments of irrigation to investigate the coupling between human water use and the natural hydrologic cycle. However, differences in the formulation of irrigation schemes have produced inconsistent results, and thus the impact of irrigation on the climate system remains uncertain. To better understand the influence of irrigation on precipitation, the authors analyze simulations from the irrigation-enabled Community Land Model, version 4 (CLM4), where irrigation is applied only over a region centered on India. The addition of irrigation to the land surface has the anticipated consequence of increasing evapotranspiration locally, despite issues revealed in CLM4 of unrealistically high partitioning of irrigation water to surface runoff and unrealistically fast water drainage through the soil column. These limitations highlight a need to observationally constrain and simultaneously optimize irrigation, runoff, drainage, and evapotranspiration. Nonlocal precipitation changes as a result of Indian irrigation during the premonsoon season are examined through a hindcast framework that reveals robust hydrologic teleconnections to parts of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Japan on short lead times, but with strong dependence on initial synoptic conditions. On longer time scales, many of these teleconnections to Indian irrigation are easily shrouded by internal variability, but a potential geographic action center remains over the meiyu-baiu rainband indicative of a nonlocal bridge mechanism. Many of the sensitivities identified here are distinct from other global models, emphasizing the need for carefully designed irrigation-intercomparison studies.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Feb 6, 2018
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