Model simulation of impacts of transient surface wetness on summer rainfall in the US Midwest during drought and flood years

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1995-05-01
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Pan, Zaitao
Segal, Moti
Turner, Richard
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Takle, Eugene
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The Department of Aerospace Engineering was organized as the Department of Aeronautical Engineering in 1942. Its name was changed to the Department of Aerospace Engineering in 1961. In 1990, the department absorbed the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and became the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. In 2003 the name was changed back to the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

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Ames National Laboratory

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The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

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Surface moisture availability has been hypothesized by various investigators to provide additional negative (positive) feedback on rainfall during summer drought (flood) conditions in the Midwest. In this note, we report on a preliminary numerical modeling effort in which the impact of transient changes in surface wetness an summer rainfall events in the midwestern United States during two recent drought and flood years is assessed. It was found that during the drought of 1988, hypothetical temporary extreme moistening of the surface resulted in large relative increases in simulated rainfall, often by as much as a factor of 2. However, from an agricultural perspective these large relative changes in rainfall might not necessarily have translated into meaningful increases since the original absolute rainfall amounts were quite small. In the flood year of 1993, an assumed transient drying of the surface resulted in relative decreases in simulated rainfall by as much as 30%–40%. This relative decrease in rainfall did, however, translate into a discernible drop in the absolute rainfall.

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Pan, Z., M. Segal, R. Turner, and E. Takle. "Model simulation of impacts of transient surface wetness on summer rainfall in the United States Midwest during drought and flood years." Monthly weather review 123, no. 5 (1995): 1575-1581. DOI:10.1175/1520-0493(1995)123<1575:MSOIOT>2.0.CO;2. Posted with permission.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1995
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