Contributions of soil moisture interactions to future precipitation changes in the GLACE-CMIP5 experiment
Changes in soil moisture are likely to contribute to future changes in latent heat flux and various characteristics of daily precipitation. Such contributions during the second half of the twenty-first century are assessed using the simulations from the GLACE-CMIP5 experiment, applying a linear regression analysis to determine the magnitude of these contributions. As characteristics of daily precipitation, mean daily precipitation, the frequency of wet days and the intensity of precipitation on wet days are considered. Also, the frequency and length of extended wet and dry spells are studied. Particular focus is on the regional (for nine selected regions) as well as seasonal variations in the magnitude of the contributions of the projected differences in soil moisture to the future changes in latent heat flux and in the characteristics of daily precipitation. The results reveal the overall tendency that the projected differences in soil moisture contribute to the future changes in response to the anthropogenic climate forcing for all the meteorological variables considered here. These contributions are stronger and more robust (i.e., there are smaller deviations between individual climate models) for the latent heat flux than for the characteristics of daily precipitation. It is also found that the contributions of the differences in soil moisture to the future changes are generally stronger and more robust for the frequency of wet days than for the intensity of daily precipitation. Consistent with the contributions of the projected differences in soil moisture to the future changes in the frequency of wet days, soil moisture generally contributes to the future changes in the characteristics of wet and dry spells. The magnitude of these contributions does not differ systematically between the frequency and the length of such extended spells, but the contributions are generally slightly stronger for dry spells than for wet spells. Distinguishing between the nine selected regions and between the different seasons, it is found that the strength of the contributions of the differences in soil moisture to the future changes in the various meteorological variables varies by region and, in particular, by season. Similarly, the robustness of these contributions varies between the regions and in the course of the year. The importance of soil moisture changes for the future changes in various aspects of daily precipitation and other aspects of the hydrological cycle illustrates the need for a comprehensive and realistic representation of land surface processes and of land surface conditions in climate models.