The growing importance of oceanic moisture sources for continental precipitation
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/3857
EDITED VERSION: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-020-00133-y
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
The precipitation that falls on the continents defines the extent and nature of terrestrial ecosystems and human activity in them, all of which are adapted to and maintained by present-day precipitation. In essence, precipitation is supplied by moisture that either comes directly from the ocean, or is subsequently recycled from the continents themselves. Both the processes that control evaporation and the main mechanisms of moisture transport clearly differ between the ocean and the continent, thus within the context of a changing climate, it may be expected that the relationship between precipitation of oceanic and terrestrial origin varies globally and regionally, as will the influence of these two basic components of total precipitation on global and regional precipitation trends, especially in tropical regions. We describe an approach based on a Lagrangian technique for estimating the precipitation in a target region given the proportions of moisture transported from the two sources (ocean and continent) to reveal that the percentage of precipitation of oceanic origin has increased globally in the current climate (1980–2016). The greatest observed rate of increase is in the tropical regions; furthermore, the trends of precipitation in these regions are controlled by trends in precipitation for which the source of moisture is the ocean.
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