Monitoring changes in precipitation and radiative energy using satellite data and climate models
Allan, R.P. and John, V.O. (2009) Monitoring changes in precipitation and radiative energy using satellite data and climate models. Proceedings of the 2009 EUMETSAT Meteorological Satellite Conference, P.55. S6, 37. ISSN 1011-3932
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Current changes in the tropical hydrological cycle, including water vapour and precipitation, are presented over the period 1979-2008 based on a diverse suite of observational datasets and atmosphere-only climate models. Models capture the observed variability in tropical moisture while reanalyses cannot. Observed variability in precipitation is highly dependent upon the satellite instruments employed and only cursory agreement with model simulations, primarily relating to the interannual variability associated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation. All datasets display a positive relationship between precipitation and surface temperature but with a large spread. The tendency for wet, ascending regions to become wetter at the expense of dry, descending regimes is in general reproduced. Finally, the frequency of extreme precipitation is shown to rise with warming in the observations and for the model ensemble mean but with large spread in the model simulations. The influence of the Earth’s radiative energy balance in relation to changes in the tropical water cycle are discussed