How robust are observed and simulated precipitation responses to tropical ocean warming?

Viju O. John, Richard P. Allan, Brian J. Soden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


Robust responses and links between the tropical energy and water cycles are investigated using multiple datasets and climate models over the period 1979-2006. Atmospheric moisture and net radiative cooling provide powerful constraints upon future changes in precipitation. While moisture amount is robustly linked with surface temperature, the response of atmospheric net radiative cooling, derived from satellite data, is less coherent. Precipitation trends and relationships with surface temperature are highly sensitive to the data product and the time-period considered. Data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) produces the strongest trends in precipitation and response to warming of all the datasets considered. The tendency for moist regions to become wetter while dry regions become drier in response to warming is captured by both observations and models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL14702
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 28 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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