Increased Likelihood of Appreciable Afternoon Rainfall Over Wetter or Drier Soils Dependent Upon Atmospheric Dynamic Influence

Josh Welty, Susan Stillman, Xubin Zeng, Joseph Santanello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The relationship between morning soil moisture and afternoon rainfall persists as an important yet unresolved challenge in land-atmosphere interaction study, complicated in part by atmospheric influence. Here, we address this relationship by utilizing NASA's satellite soil moisture and precipitation data for the warm season (June–September) of 2015–2019 over Northern Hemisphere land (0–60°N). Raining days are partitioned into low, medium, and high regimes of atmospheric water vapor convergence. Under the low convergence regime, afternoon rainfall is more likely to occur over wetter soils or higher relative humidity; for days with high moisture convergence, occurrence favors drier soils or lower relative humidity. For each regime, afternoon rainfall occurrence favors warmer morning soil or air temperature. These conclusions are not affected by the threshold magnitude utilized to identify afternoon rainfall events by accumulation, but the threshold value does affect the soil moisture (or relative humidity)-precipitation relationship when convergence regimes are not considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL087779
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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