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Variability of moisture recycling using a precipitationshed framework
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Colorado State University, USA.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2014 (English)In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, ISSN 1027-5606, E-ISSN 1607-7938, Vol. 18, no 10, 3937-3950 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research has revealed that upwind land-use changes can significantly influence downwind precipitation. The precipitationshed (the upwind ocean and land surface that contributes evaporation to a specific location's precipitation) may provide a boundary for coordination and governance of these upwind-downwind water linkages. We aim to quantify the variability of the precipitationshed boundary to determine whether there are persistent and significant sources of evaporation for a given region's precipitation. We identify the precipitationsheds for three regions (i.e., western Sahel, northern China, and La Plata) by tracking atmospheric moisture with a numerical water transport model (Water Accounting Model-2layers, or WAM-2layers) using gridded fields from both the ERA-Interim (European Reanalysis Interim) and MERRA (Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications) reanalyses. Precipitationshed variability is examined first by diagnosing the persistence of the evaporation contribution and second with an analysis of the spatial variability of the evaporation contribution. The analysis leads to three key conclusions: (1) a core precipitationshed exists; (2) most of the variance in the precipitationshed is explained by a pulsing of more or less evaporation from the core precipitationshed; and (3) the reanalysis data sets agree reasonably well, although the degree of agreement is regionally dependent. Given that much of the growing-season evaporation arises from within a core precipitationshed that is largely persistent in time, we conclude that the precipitationshed can potentially provide a useful boundary for governing land-use change on downwind precipitation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 18, no 10, 3937-3950 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110776DOI: 10.5194/hess-18-3937-2014ISI: 000344730300006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-110776DiVA: diva2:772775
Note

AuthorCount:4;

Available from: 2014-12-17 Created: 2014-12-17 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Precipitationshed: Concepts, Methods, and Applications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Precipitationshed: Concepts, Methods, and Applications
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human societies are reliant on the functioning of the hydrologic cycle. The atmospheric branch of this cycle, often referred to as moisture recycling in the context of land-to-land exchange, refers to water evaporating, traveling through the atmosphere, and falling out as precipitation. Similar to the surface water cycle that uses the watershed as the unit of analysis, it is also possible to consider a ‘watershed of the sky’ for the atmospheric water cycle. Thus, I explore the precipitationshed - defined as the upwind surface of the Earth that provides evaporation that later falls as precipitation in a specific place. The primary contributions of this dissertation are to (a) introduce the precipitationshed concept, (b) provide a quantitative basis for the study of the precipitationshed, and (c) demonstrate its use in the fields of hydrometeorology, land-use change, social-ecological systems, ecosystem services, and environmental governance.

In Paper I, the concept of the precipitationshed is introduced and explored for the first time. The quantification of precipitationshed variability is described in Paper II, and the key finding is that the precipitationsheds for multiple regions are persistent in time and space. Moisture recycling is further described as an ecosystem service in Paper III, to integrate the concept into the existing language of environmental sustainability and management. That is, I identify regions where vegetation more strongly regulates the provision of atmospheric water, as well as the regions that more strongly benefit from this regulation. In Paper IV, the precipitationshed is further explored through the lens of urban reliance on moisture recycling. Using a novel method, I quantify the vulnerability of urban areas to social-ecological changes within their precipitationsheds. In Paper V, I argue that successful moisture recycling governance will require flexible, transboundary institutions that are capable of operating within complex social-ecological systems. I conclude that, in the future, the precipitationshed can be a key tool in addressing the complexity of social-ecological systems. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2016. 54 p.
Keyword
water, atmosphere, precipitationshed, moisture recycling, variability, ecosystem services, social-ecological systems
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132375 (URN)978-91-7649-464-6 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-29, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2016-09-06 Created: 2016-08-11 Last updated: 2016-08-25Bibliographically approved

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