Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parched soils trigger more storms

Date:
September 12, 2012
Source:
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Summary:
Afternoon storms are more likely to develop when soils are parched, according to a new study which examined hydrological processes across six continents. The results have important implications for the future development of global weather and climate models which may currently be simulating an excessive number of droughts.

Afternoon storms are more likely to develop when soils are parched, according to a new study published this week in Nature which examined hydrological processes across six continents.

The results have important implications for the future development of global weather and climate models which may currently be simulating an excessive number of droughts.

The research team included scientists from the UK, Holland, Austria and France and was led by Dr Chris Taylor from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK.

The scientists examined imagery from weather satellites which track the development of storm clouds across the globe. When they matched up where new storms appeared alongside images of how wet the ground was, they were somewhat surprised.

Dr Chris Taylor from NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, "We had been looking at storms in Africa and knew that rain clouds there tended to brew up in places where it hadn't rained in the previous few days. We were surprised to see a similar pattern occurring in other regions of the world such as the US and continental Europe. In those less extreme climates, with more vegetation cover, we expected the soil wetness effect would be too weak to identify."

The researchers compared their observations with six global weather and climate models used to simulate climate change. They found that the existing models do the wrong thing, triggering rain over wetter soils.

The implication is that existing climate models are more likely to go into a vicious circle whereby dry soils decrease rainfall, leading to even drier soil conditions. The paper concludes that fixing this problem is a priority for scientists developing the climate models.

Dr Taylor added, "Both heat and moisture are critical ingredients for rain clouds to build up during the afternoon. On sunny days the land heats the air, creating thermals which reach several kilometres up into the atmosphere. If the soil is dry, the thermals are stronger, and our new research shows that this makes rain more likely."

Co-author Dr Françoise Guichard from CNRM-GAME (CNRS and Meteo-France) said, "We need to improve climate models so that we get a better idea of what global climate change will mean on smaller regional scales over land."

The research team came from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK, CNRM-GAME (CNRS and Meteo-France) in France, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and the Vienna University of Technology in Austria.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher M. Taylor, Richard A. M. de Jeu, Françoise Guichard, Phil P. Harris, Wouter A. Dorigo. Afternoon rain more likely over drier soils. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11377

Cite This Page:

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. "Parched soils trigger more storms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912161426.htm>.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. (2012, September 12). Parched soils trigger more storms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912161426.htm
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. "Parched soils trigger more storms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912161426.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Summer Rain More Likely Over Drier Soils, New Satellite Data Show

Sep. 12, 2012 — Where does it rain on a hot day's afternoon? New satellite data show that soil moisture plays an important role. It influences precipitation in a way which is quite different from what models ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins