The mechanisms behind changes in the seasonality of global precipitation found in reanalysis products and CMIP5 simulations

Chia Wei Lan, Min Hui Lo, Chao An Chen, Jia Yuh Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


As the global atmosphere warms, water vapor concentrations increase with rising temperatures at a rate of 7%/K. Precipitation change is associated with increased moisture convergence, which can be decomposed into thermodynamic and dynamic contributions. Our previous studies involving Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) projections have suggested that seasonal disparity in changes of global precipitation is primarily associated with the thermodynamic contribution. In this study, a vertically integrated atmospheric water budget analysis using multiple reanalysis datasets demonstrated that dynamic changes played a significant role in seasonal precipitation changes during 1979–2008, especially in the global average and ocean average. The thermodynamic component exhibited almost consistent magnitude in the contribution of seasonal precipitation changes during 1979–2008 in both CMIP5_AMIP models and reanalysis datasets, whereas the dynamic component (related to the tendency of ω and water vapor climatology) made a lower or negative contribution in the CMIP5_AMIP models compared with the reanalysis datasets. Strengthened (weakened) ascending and descending motions in the reanalysis datasets (CMIP5_AMIP models), which were indicative of strengthened (weakened) seasonal mean circulation, tended to increase (reduce) precipitation in the wet season and reduce (increase) precipitation in the dry season during the study period. Vertical profiles of the tendency of moist static energy in the mid-to-upper troposphere suggested a trend toward stability in the CMIP5_AMIP models and one toward instability in the reanalysis datasets. Such disagreement in stability might be related to the different warming tendency in the mid-to-upper troposphere over the tropics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4173-4187
Number of pages15
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


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