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Analysis of the main source regions of moisture transport events with the new ESA CCI/CM‐SAF total column water vapour climate data record (v2)

Eiras‐Barca, J. ORCID:, Algarra, I., Nieto, R., Schröder, M., Hegglin, M. I. ORCID: and Gimeno, L. (2022) Analysis of the main source regions of moisture transport events with the new ESA CCI/CM‐SAF total column water vapour climate data record (v2). Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 148 (748). ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.4358


This study makes use of the new total column water vapour data record (CDR‐2 (v2)), developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) in coordination with the Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring (CM SAF), to analyse the adequacy of the integrated vertical water vapour column (IWV) data provided by the European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5 and ERA‐Interim reanalyses in regions of critical interest for moisture transport mechanisms. This information is critical for the initialization of moisture transport models—both Eulerian and Lagrangian—used to study the main mechanisms and predict the future evolution of moisture transport events. In particular, almost 40,000 atmospheric river (AR) and nocturnal low‐level jet (NLLJ) events identified on a global scale between 2002 and 2017 have been used to study the variability between the cited reanalyses and CDR‐2, in terms of both bias in the observed values of IWV during each particular event and daily temporal correlation fields. Although some notable discrepancies are reported in the main tropical rainforest regions, it is observed that, in regions of high interest for both ARs and NLLJs, the degree of agreement between the reanalyses and CDR‐2 is high. The bias observed in the regions of interest is generally low, and the temporal correlation in the IWV fields is above 0.8 in most areas. ERA5 appears to show slightly better performance than ERA‐Interim when resolving the moisture column, and both show greater similarity to CDR‐2 in the midlatitudes compared with tropical regions. The probability density functions constructed on an event‐to‐event basis reinforce these ideas. We conclude that the evaluations presented here using CDR‐2 serve to strengthen avaliable evidence that the ECMWF reanalyses can safely be used in the initializations of Lagrangian dispersion models and Eulerian moisture tracer simulations—commonly used for the analysis of main advection mechanisms—in the vast majority of regions critical to the study of ARs and LLJs. They can also safely be used for the detection of moisture source–sink regions in the study of the global hydrological cycle in these regions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:107308
Uncontrolled Keywords:RESEARCH ARTICLE, RESEARCH ARTICLES, ERA5, ERA‐Interim, moisture transport, total column water vapour
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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