Linking global land surface temperature projections to radiative effects of hydrometeors under a global warming scenario

J. L.F. Li, Kuan Man Xu, Wei Liang Lee, J. H. Jiang, Eric Fetzer, Jia Yuh Yu, Yi Hui Wang, Graeme Stephens, Li Chaio Wang

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Land skin temperature (Ts) is directly influenced by surface energy balance, in particular, radiative energy, which can be linked to model's representation of radiative effects of hydrometeors in the atmosphere. This link is inferred by examining the changes of geographical distribution and seasonal cycle of surface radiation, surface turbulent fluxes and Ts between a pair of 140 years sensitivity experiments under 1% per year increase of atmospheric CO2. One is with radiative effects of falling ice (snow) hydrometeors on (SON) and the other off (NOS) using CESM1-CAM5 and the results are compared with CMIP5 models without these effects. For boreal winter, NOS relative to SON simulates less surface downward longwave and net flux (∼10-15 W m-2), resulting in colder Ts (∼2-3 K colder), over mid- and high latitudes, but more solar radiative flux, resulting in warmer Ts (∼1-3 K), over subtropical and tropical land. These differences between NOS and SON are amplified as the surface and the atmosphere become warmer. The results from CMIP5 ensemble generally match with those of NOS. Temporal correlation analysis indicates that the linkage between Ts and falling ice hydrometeor changes is through one between Ts and downward longwave and net fluxes at high latitudes, but strongly weakened by shortwave changes at low latitudes (and boreal summer). Relative to SON, land skin temperatures in NOS and CMIP5 are underestimated throughout the seasonal cycle but only slightly in summer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084044
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • GCM
  • falling ice
  • land surface
  • radiation budget
  • warming climate


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