On the Hydroclimate of Southern South America: Water Vapor Transport and the Role of Shallow Groundwater on Land-Atmosphere Interactions
Land Surface Models
Water Vapor Transport
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe present work focuses on the sources and transport of water vapor to the La Plata Basin (LPB), and the role of groundwater dynamics on the simulation of hydrometeorological conditions over the basin. In the first part of the study an extension to the Dynamic Recycling Model (DRM) is developed to estimate the water vapor transported to the LPB from different regions in South America and the nearby oceans, and the corresponding contribution to precipitation over the LPB. It is found that more than 23% of the precipitation over the LPB is from local origin, while nearly 20% originates from evapotranspiration from the southern Amazon. Most of the moisture comes from terrestrial sources, with the South American continent contributing more than 62% of the moisture for precipitation over the LPB. The Amazonian contribution increases during the positive phase of El Niño and the negative phase of the Antarctic Oscillation. In the second part of the study the effect of a groundwater scheme on the simulation of terrestrial water storage, soil moisture and evapotranspiration (ET) over the LPB is investigated. It is found that the groundwater scheme improves the simulation of fluctuations in the terrestrial water storage over parts of the southern Amazon. There is also an increase in the soil moisture in the root zone over those regions where the water table is closer to the surface, including parts of the western and southern Amazon, and of the central and southern LPB. ET increases in the central and southern LPB, where it is water limited. Over parts of the southeastern Amazon the effects of the groundwater scheme are only observed at higher resolution, when the convergence of lateral groundwater flow in local topographical depressions is resolved by the model. Finally, the effects of the groundwater scheme on near surface conditions and precipitation are explored. It is found that the increase in ET induced by the groundwater scheme over parts of the LPB induces an increase in near surface specific humidity, accompanied by a decrease in near surface temperature. During the dry season, downstream of the regions where ET increases, there is also a slight increase in precipitation, over a region where the model has a dry bias compared with observations. During the early rainy season, there is also an increase in the local convective available potential energy. Over the southern LPB, groundwater induces an increase in ET and precipitation of 13 and 10%, respectively. Over the LPB, the groundwater scheme tends to improve the warm and dry biases of the model. It is suggested that a more realistic simulation of the water table depth could further increase the simulated precipitation during the early rainy season.
Degree ProgramGraduate College