Amplified seasonal cycle in hydroclimate over the Amazon river basin and its plume region.
ABSTRACT: The Amazon river basin receives ~2000 mm of precipitation annually and contributes ~17% of global river freshwater input to the oceans; its hydroclimatic variations can exert profound impacts on the marine ecosystem in the Amazon plume region (APR) and have potential far-reaching influences on hydroclimate over the tropical Atlantic. Here, we show that an amplified seasonal cycle of Amazonia precipitation, represented by the annual difference between maximum and minimum values, during the period 1979-2018, leads to enhanced seasonalities in both Amazon river discharge and APR ocean salinity. An atmospheric moisture budget analysis shows that these enhanced seasonal cycles are associated with similar amplifications in the atmospheric vertical and horizontal moisture advections. Hierarchical sensitivity experiments using global climate models quantify the relationships of these enhanced seasonalities. The results suggest that an intensified hydroclimatological cycle may develop in the Amazonia atmosphere-land-ocean coupled system, favouring more extreme terrestrial and marine conditions.
Project description:Amazon discharges a large volume of freshwater into the ocean, yet its impact on climate is largely unknown. Climate projections show that a warmer northern tropical Atlantic Ocean together with a warmer equatorial Pacific lead to extreme droughts in the Amazonia, considerably reducing the Amazon runoff. Here we present results from coupled model simulations and observations on the climatic response to a significant reduction in Amazon runoff into the Atlantic Ocean. Climate model simulation without Amazon runoff resulted in cooler equatorial Atlantic, weakening the Hadley cell and thereby the atmospheric meridional cells. Consequently, the extratropical westerlies turned weaker, leading to prevalent negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) like climate, similar to the observed anomalies during Amazon drought years. This study reaffirms that spatial signature of NAO is in part driven by sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical Atlantic. Winters of northern Europe and eastern Canada turned cooler and drier whereas southern Europe and the eastern United States experienced warmer and wetter winters without Amazon runoff. Significant warming over the Arctic reduced the local sea-ice extent and enhanced the high latitude river runoff. More importantly, our simulations caution against extreme exploitation of rivers for its far-reaching consequences on climate.
Project description:The Amazon rainforest has been proposed as a tipping element of the earth system, with the possibility of a dieback of the entire ecosystem due to deforestation only of parts of the rainforest. Possible physical mechanisms behind such a transition are still subject to ongoing debates. Here, we use a specifically designed model to analyse the nonlinear couplings between the Amazon rainforest and the atmospheric moisture transport from the Atlantic to the South American continent. These couplings are associated with a westward cascade of precipitation and evapotranspiration across the Amazon. We investigate impacts of deforestation on the South American monsoonal circulation with particular focus on a previously neglected positive feedback related to condensational latent heating over the rainforest, which strongly enhances atmospheric moisture inflow from the Atlantic. Our results indicate the existence of a tipping point. In our model setup, crossing the tipping point causes precipitation reductions of up to 40% in non-deforested parts of the western Amazon and regions further downstream. The responsible mechanism is the breakdown of the aforementioned feedback, which occurs when deforestation reduces transpiration to a point where the available atmospheric moisture does not suffice anymore to release the latent heat needed to maintain the feedback.
Project description:Water evaporating from the ocean sustains precipitation on land. This ocean-to-land moisture transport leaves an imprint on sea surface salinity (SSS). Thus, the question arises of whether variations in SSS can provide insight into terrestrial precipitation. This study provides evidence that springtime SSS in the subtropical North Atlantic ocean can be used as a predictor of terrestrial precipitation during the subsequent summer monsoon in Africa. Specifically, increased springtime SSS in the central to eastern subtropical North Atlantic tends to be followed by above-normal monsoon-season precipitation in the African Sahel. In the spring, high SSS is associated with enhanced moisture flux divergence from the subtropical oceans, which converges over the African Sahel and helps to elevate local soil moisture content. From spring to the summer monsoon season, the initial water cycling signal is preserved, amplified, and manifested in excessive precipitation. According to our analysis of currently available soil moisture data sets, this 3-month delay is attributable to a positive coupling between soil moisture, moisture flux convergence, and precipitation in the Sahel. Because of the physical connection between salinity, ocean-to-land moisture transport, and local soil moisture feedback, seasonal forecasts of Sahel precipitation can be improved by incorporating SSS into prediction models. Thus, expanded monitoring of ocean salinity should contribute to more skillful predictions of precipitation in vulnerable subtropical regions, such as the Sahel.
Project description:Spatial and temporal patterns in microbial biodiversity across the Amazon river-ocean continuum were investigated along ?675 km of the lower Amazon River mainstem, in the Tapajós River tributary, and in the plume and coastal ocean during low and high river discharge using amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes in whole water and size-fractionated samples (0.2-2.0 ?m and >2.0 ?m). River communities varied among tributaries, but mainstem communities were spatially homogeneous and tracked seasonal changes in river discharge and co-varying factors. Co-occurrence network analysis identified strongly interconnected river assemblages during high (May) and low (December) discharge periods, and weakly interconnected transitional assemblages in September, suggesting that this system supports two seasonal microbial communities linked to river discharge. In contrast, plume communities showed little seasonal differences and instead varied spatially tracking salinity. However, salinity explained only a small fraction of community variability, and plume communities in blooms of diatom-diazotroph assemblages were strikingly different than those in other high salinity plume samples. This suggests that while salinity physically structures plumes through buoyancy and mixing, the composition of plume-specific communities is controlled by other factors including nutrients, phytoplankton community composition, and dissolved organic matter chemistry. Co-occurrence networks identified interconnected assemblages associated with the highly productive low salinity near-shore region, diatom-diazotroph blooms, and the plume edge region, and weakly interconnected assemblages in high salinity regions. This suggests that the plume supports a transitional community influenced by immigration of ocean bacteria from the plume edge, and by species sorting as these communities adapt to local environmental conditions. Few studies have explored patterns of microbial diversity in tropical rivers and coastal oceans. Comparison of Amazon continuum microbial communities to those from temperate and arctic systems suggest that river discharge and salinity are master variables structuring a range of environmental conditions that control bacterial communities across the river-ocean continuum.
Project description:Volcanic eruptions have global climate impacts, but their effect on the hydrologic cycle is poorly understood. We use a modified version of superposed epoch analysis, an eruption year list collated from multiple datasets, and seasonal paleoclimate reconstructions (soil moisture, precipitation, geopotential heights, and temperature) to investigate volcanic forcing of spring and summer hydroclimate over Europe and the Mediterranean over the last millennium. In the western Mediterranean, wet conditions occur in the eruption year and the following 3 years. Conversely, northwestern Europe and the British Isles experience dry conditions in response to volcanic eruptions, with the largest moisture deficits in post-eruption years 2 and 3. The precipitation response occurs primarily in late spring and early summer (April-July), a pattern that strongly resembles the negative phase of the East Atlantic Pattern. Modulated by this mode of climate variability, eruptions force significant, widespread, and heterogeneous hydroclimate responses across Europe and the Mediterranean.
Project description:Century-to-millennial scale fluctuations in precipitation and temperature are an established feature of European Holocene climates. Changes in moisture delivery are driven by complex interactions between ocean moisture sources and atmospheric circulation modes, making it difficult to resolve the drivers behind millennial scale variability in European precipitation. Here, we present two overlapping decadal resolution speleothem oxygen isotope (?(18)O) records from a cave on the Atlantic coastline of northern Iberia, covering the period 12.1-0?ka. Speleothem ?(18)O reveals nine quasi-cyclical events of relatively wet-to-dry climatic conditions during the Holocene. Dynamic Harmonic Regression modelling indicates that changes in precipitation occurred with a ~1500?year frequency during the late Holocene and at a shorter length during the early Holocene. The timing of these cycles coincides with changes in North Atlantic Ocean conditions, indicating a connectivity between ocean conditions and Holocene moisture delivery. Early Holocene climate is potentially dominated by freshwater outburst events, whilst ~1500?year cycles in the late Holocene are more likely driven by changes internal to the ocean system. This is the first continental record of its type that clearly demonstrates millennial scale connectivity between the pulse of the ocean and precipitation over Europe through the entirety of the Holocene.
Project description:The Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was a significant global warming event in Earth's deep past (56?Mya). The warming across the PETM boundary was driven by a rapid rise in greenhouse gases. The event also coincided with a time of maximum insolation in Northern Hemisphere summer. There is increased evidence that the mean warming was accompanied by enhanced seasonality and/or extremes in precipitation (and flooding) and drought. A high horizontal resolution (50?km) global climate model is used to explore changes in the seasonal cycle of surface temperature, precipitation, evaporation minus precipitation and river run-off for regions where proxy data are available. Comparison for the regions indicates the model accurately simulates the observed changes in these climatic characteristics with North American interior warming and drying, and warming and increased river run-off at other regions. The addition of maximum insolation in Northern Hemisphere summer leads to a drier North America, but wetter conditions at most other locations. Long-range transport of atmospheric moisture plays a critical role in explaining regional changes in the water cycle. Such high-frequency variations in precipitation might also help explain discrepancies or misinterpretation of some climate proxies from the same locations, especially where sampling is coarse, i.e. at or greater than the frequency of precession.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Hyperthermals: rapid and extreme global warming in our geological past'.
Project description:Empirical orthogonal functions (EOF) and composites analysis were employed on pentad data in order to investigate the tropical atmospheric-ocean patterns over the Atlantic Ocean and the spatial-temporal characteristics of the rainfall in eastern Amazon during the peak of the rainy season (February to April). The EOF results evidenced that the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is the main rainfall-producing system in eastern Amazon during the rainy season. Conditions associated with the southward SST gradient in the intertropical Atlantic formed the dynamic patterns that favored the position of the ITCZ to south of the equator, thus explaining the predominance of positive precipitation anomalies in eastern Amazon, especially in the state of Maranhão and northeastern Pará during the February and April months.
Project description:The risk of European extreme precipitation and flooding as an economic and humanitarian disaster is modulated by large-scale atmospheric processes that operate over (multi-)decadal periods and transport huge quantities of moisture inland from the oceans. Yet the previous studies for better understanding of extreme precipitation variability and its skillful seasonal prediction are far from comprehensive. Here we show that the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and, to a lesser extent, winter ENSO signal have a controlling influence not only concurrently on European extreme precipitation anomaly in winter, but in a delayed way on the extremes in the following seasons. In a similar pattern, there is a strong footprint of summer atmospheric circulations over the Mediterranean Sea on summer extreme precipitation and with 1-, 2- and 3-season lags on the following autumn, winter and spring extremes. The combined influences of the different atmospheric circulation patterns mark a significant step forward for an improved predictability of European extreme precipitation in the state-of-the-art seasonal prediction systems.
Project description:Tree transpiration is important in the recycling of precipitation in the Amazon and might be negatively affected by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-induced droughts. To investigate the relative importance of soil moisture deficits versus increasing atmospheric demand (VPD) and determine if these drivers exert different controls over tree transpiration during the wet season versus the dry season (DS), we conducted sap flow measurements in a primary lowland tropical forest in eastern Amazon during the most extreme ENSO-induced drought (2015/2016) recorded in the Amazon. We also assessed whether trees occupying different canopy strata contribute equally to the overall stand transpiration (T stand). Canopy trees were the primary source of T stand However, subcanopy trees are still important as they transpired an amount similar to other biomes around the globe. Tree water use was higher during the DS, indicating that during extreme drought trees did not reduce transpiration in response to low soil moisture. Photosynthetically active radiation and VPD exerted an overriding effect on water use patterns relative to soil moisture during extreme drought, indicating that light and atmospheric constraints play a critical role in controlling ecosystem fluxes of water. Our study highlights the importance of canopy and subcanopy trees to the regional water balance and highlights the resilience to droughts that these trees show during an extreme ENSO event.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The impact of the 2015/2016 El Niño on the terrestrial tropical carbon cycle: patterns, mechanisms and implications'.