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Schulz N.,University of Lima | Boisier J.P.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Aceituno P.,University of Chile
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2012

Long-term precipitation records from the extremely arid northern coast of Chile (18°S-30°S) were analysed to assess changes occurring at different time scales. Results are presented here along with a discussion on changes in the temperature and cloudiness regimes in order to offer a more comprehensive overview of the climate evolution in this extremely arid region. Apart from a significant influence of ENSO on the rainfall regime, characterized by a tendency for more frequent rainfall events during El Niño episodes, changes at the decadal time scale were identified in association with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). Thus, the warm IPO-phase is associated with increased precipitation, while the opposite occurs during the cold IPO-phase. Changes occurring at the interannual and decadal time scales are superimposed on a long-term precipitation decline during the 20th century. Apart from the intensified dryness, the temperature records show a positive long-term trend resulting mainly from an abrupt warming in the mid-1970s, principally associated with a marked upwards shift of the minimum daily temperature, coinciding with the change from the cold to the warm phase of the IPO. However, the period following this step-like warming has been characterized by a persistent cooling trend, most evident in the maximum daily temperature, which is coherent with a negative trend in the sea surface temperature over a large oceanic region off the coast of northern Chile. In the northernmost region, this behaviour in the temperature regime was accompanied by a strong decrease in cloudiness since the 1970s. The negative trend in rainfall and the decrease in the total cloud cover are certainly important factors that could explain the coastal vegetation decline over the past decades in the coastal region north of 24°S. © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society.

Boisier J.P.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Boisier J.P.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | De Noblet-Ducoudre N.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Ciais P.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace
Biogeosciences | Year: 2013

Regional cooling resulting from increases in surface albedo has been identified in several studies as the main biogeophysical effect of past land use-induced land cover changes (LCC) on climate. However, the amplitude of this effect remains quite uncertain due to, among other factors, (a) uncertainties in the extent of historical LCC and, (b) differences in the way various models simulate surface albedo and more specifically its dependency on vegetation type and snow cover. We derived monthly albedo climatologies for croplands and four other land cover types from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite observations. We then reconstructed the changes in surface albedo between preindustrial times and present-day by combining these climatologies with the land cover maps of 1870 and 1992 used by seven land surface models (LSMs) in the context of the LUCID ("Land Use and Climate: identification of robust Impacts") intercomparison project. These reconstructions show surface albedo increases larger than 10 % (absolute) in winter, and larger than 2% in summer between 1870 and 1992 over areas that experienced intense deforestation in the northern temperate regions. The historical surface albedo changes estimated with MODIS data were then compared to those simulated by the various climate models participating in LUCID. The inter-model mean albedo response to LCC shows a similar spatial and seasonal pattern to the one resulting from the MODIS-based reconstructions, that is, larger albedo increases in winter than in summer, driven by the presence of snow. However, individual models show significant differences between the simulated albedo changes and the corresponding reconstructions, despite the fact that land cover change maps are the same. Our analyses suggest that the primary reason for those discrepancies is how LSMs parameterize albedo. Another reason, of secondary importance, results from differences in their simulated snow extent. Our methodology is a useeful tool not only to infer observations-based historical changes in land surface variables impacted by LCC, but also to point out deficiencies of the models. We therefore suggest that it could be more widely developed and used in conjunction with other tools in order to evaluate LSMs. © Author(s) 2013.

Stefanon M.,Ecole Polytechnique - Palaiseau | Drobinski P.,Ecole Polytechnique - Palaiseau | D'Andrea F.,Ecole Polytechnique - Palaiseau | Lebeaupin-Brossier C.,Meteo - France | Bastin S.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2014

This paper investigates the impact of soil moisture-temperature feedback during heatwaves occurring over France between 1989 and 2008. Two simulations of the weather research and forecasting regional model have been analysed, with two different land-surface models. One resolves the hydrology and is able to simulate summer dryness, while the other prescribes constant and high soil moisture and hence no soil moisture deficit. The sensitivity analysis conducted for all heatwave episodes highlights different soil moisture-temperature responses (1) over low-elevation plains, (2) over mountains and (3) over coastal regions. In the plains, soil moisture deficit induces less evapotranspiration and higher sensible heat flux. This has the effect of heating the planetary boundary layer and at the same time of creating a general condition of higher convective instability and a slight increase of shallow cloud cover. A positive feedback is created which increases the temperature anomaly during the heatwaves. In mountainous regions, enhanced heat fluxes over dry soil reinforce upslope winds producing strong vertical motion over the mountain slope, first triggered by thermal convection. This, jointly to the instability conditions, favors convection triggering and produces clouds and precipitation over the mountains, reducing the temperature anomaly. In coastal regions, dry soil enhances land/sea thermal contrast, strengthening sea-breeze circulation and moist cold marine air advection. This damps the magnitude of the heatwave temperature anomaly in coastal areas, expecially near the Mediterranean coast. Hence, along with heating in the plains, soil dryness can also have a significant cooling effect over mountains and coastal regions due to meso-scale circulations. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Wordsworth R.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace
Icarus | Year: 2012

Exoplanets with lower equilibrium temperatures than Earth and primordial hydrogen atmospheres that evaporate after formation should pass through transient periods where oceans can form on their surfaces, as liquid water can form below a few thousand bar pressure and H 2-H 2 collision-induced absorption provides significant greenhouse warming. The duration of the transient period depends on the planet size, starting H 2 inventory and star type, with the longest periods typically occurring for planets around M-class stars. As pre-biotic compounds readily form in the reducing chemistry of hydrogen-rich atmospheres, conditions on these planets could be favourable to the emergence of life. The ultimate fate of any emergent organisms under such conditions would depend on their ability to adapt to (or modify) their gradually cooling environment. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Ricke K.L.,Carnegie Institution for Science | Orr J.C.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Schneider K.,Stanford University | Caldeira K.,Carnegie Institution for Science
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2013

Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Today they are threatened by numerous stressors, including warming ocean waters and coastal pollution. Here we focus on the implications of ocean acidification for the open ocean chemistry surrounding coral reefs, as estimated from earth system models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5). We project risks to reefs in the context of three potential aragonite saturation (Ωa) thresholds. We find that in preindustrial times, 99.9% of reefs adjacent to open ocean in the CMIP5 ensemble were located in regions with Ωa > 3.5. Under a business-as-usual scenario (RCP 8.5), every coral reef considered will be surrounded by water with Ωa < 3 by the end of the 21st century and the reefs' long-term fate is independent of their specific saturation threshold. However, under scenarios with significant CO2 emissions abatement, the Ωa threshold for reefs is critical to projecting their fate. Our results indicate that to maintain a majority of reefs surrounded by waters with Ωa > 3.5 to the end of the century, very aggressive reductions in emissions are required. The spread of Ωa projections across models in the CMIP5 ensemble is narrow, justifying a high level of confidence in these results. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Ibrahim B.,Institute International Dingenierie Of Leau Et Of Lenvironnement 2Ie | Polcher J.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Karambiri H.,Institute International Dingenierie Of Leau Et Of Lenvironnement 2Ie | Rockel B.,Helmholtz Center Geesthacht
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2012

West African monsoon is one of the most challenging climate components to model. Five regional climate models (RCMs) were run over the West African region with two lateral boundary conditions, ERA-Interim re-analysis and simulations from two general circulation models (GCMs). Two sets of daily rainfall data were generated from these boundary conditions. These simulated rainfall data are analyzed here in comparison to daily rainfall data collected over a network of ten synoptic stations in Burkina Faso from 1990 to 2004. The analyses are based on a description of the rainy season throughout a number of it's characteristics. It was found that the two sets of rainfall data produced with the two driving data present significant biases. The RCMs generally produce too frequent low rainfall values (between 0. 1 and 5 mm/day) and too high extreme rainfalls (more than twice the observed values). The high frequency of low rainfall events in the RCMs induces shorter dry spells at the rainfall thresholds of 0. 1-1 mm/day. Altogether, there are large disagreements between the models on the simulate season duration and the annual rainfall amounts but most striking are their differences in representing the distribution of rainfall intensity. It is remarkable that these conclusions are valid whether the RCMs are driven by re-analysis or GCMs. In none of the analyzed rainy season characteristics, a significant improvement of their representation can be found when the RCM is forced by the re-analysis, indicating that these deficiencies are intrinsic to the models. © 2011 The Author(s).

Risi C.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Noone D.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Frankenberg C.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Worden J.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Water Resources Research | Year: 2013

Climate models suggest an important role for land-atmosphere feedbacks on climate, but exhibit a large dispersion in the simulation of this role. We focus here on the role of continental recycling in the intraseasonal variability of continental moisture, and we explore the possibility of using water isotopic measurements to observationally constrain this role. Based on water tagging, we design a diagnostic, named D1, to estimate the role of continental recycling on the intraseasonal variability of continental moisture simulated by the general circulation model LMDZ. In coastal regions, the intraseasonal variability of continental moisture is mainly driven by the variability in oceanic moisture convergence. More inland, the role of continental recycling becomes important. The simulation of this role is sensitive to model parameters modulating evapotranspiration. Then we show that δD in the low-level water vapor is a good tracer for continental recycling, due to the enriched signature of transpiration. Over tropical land regions, the intraseasonal relationship between δD and precipitable water, named D1-iso, is a good observational proxy for D1. We test the possibility of using D1-iso for model evaluation using two satellite data sets: GOSAT and TES. LMDZ captures well the spatial patterns of D1-iso, but underestimates its values. However, a more accurate description of how atmospheric processes affect the isotopic composition of water vapor is necessary before concluding with certitude that LMDZ underestimates the role of continental recycling. © 2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Leconte J.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Leconte J.,Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon | Chabrier G.,Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon | Chabrier G.,University of Exeter
Nature Geoscience | Year: 2013

As the giant planets of our Solar System continue to cool and contract, they radiate more energy than they receive from the Sun. A giant planet's cooling rate, luminosity and temperature at a given age can be determined using the first and second principles of thermodynamics. Measurements of Saturn's infrared luminosity, however, reveal that Saturn is significantly brighter than predicted for its age. This excess luminosity has been attributed to the immiscibility of helium in Saturn's hydrogen-rich envelope, which leads to rains of helium-rich droplets. Existing calculations of Saturn's evolution, however, suggest that the energy released by helium rains might be insufficient to resolve the luminosity puzzle. Here we demonstrate, using semi-analytical models of planetary thermal evolution, that the cooling of Saturn's interior is significantly slower in the presence of layered convection generated - like in Earth's oceans - by a compositional gradient. We find that layered convection can explain Saturn's present luminosity for a wide range of initial energy configurations without invoking any additional energy source. Our findings suggest that the interior structure, composition and thermal evolution of giant planets in our Solar System and beyond may be more complex than the conventional approximation of giant planets as homogeneous adiabatic bodies.

Jouzel J.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace
Climate of the Past | Year: 2013

For about 50 yr, ice cores have provided a wealth of information about past climatic and environmental changes. Ice cores from Greenland, Antarctica and other glacier-covered regions now encompass a variety of time scales. However, the longer time scales (e.g. at least back to the Last Glacial period) are covered by deep ice cores, the number of which is still very limited: seven from Greenland, with only one providing an undisturbed record of a part of the last interglacial period, and a dozen from Antarctica, with the longest record covering the last 800 000 yr. This article aims to summarize this successful adventure initiated by a few pioneers and their teams and to review key scientific results by focusing on climate (in particular water isotopes) and climate-related (e.g. greenhouse gases) reconstructions. Future research is well taken into account by the four projects defined by IPICS. However, it remains a challenge to get an intact record of the Last Interglacial in Greenland and to extend the Antarctic record through the mid-Pleistocene transition, if possible back to 1.5 Ma.©Author(s) 2013.

Wordsworth R.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Forget F.,Institute Pierre Simon Laplace | Eymet V.,University Paul Sabatier
Icarus | Year: 2010

Collision-induced absorption is of great importance to the overall radiative budget in dense CO2-rich atmospheres, but its representation in climate models remains uncertain, mainly due to a lack of accurate experimental and theoretical data. Here we compare several parameterisations of the effect, including a new one that makes use of previously unused measurements in the 1200-1800cm-1 spectral range. We find that a widely used parameterisation strongly overestimates absorption in pure CO2 atmospheres compared to later results, and propose a new approach that we believe is the most accurate possible given currently available data. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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