Related Research Areas
Climate Variability & Change, Water & Energy Cycles

The advent of water isotope-enabled atmospheric circulation models and the validated and ongoing monitoring of water isotopes from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) on board Aura, means that there is an unprecedented opportunity to integrate this new hydrologic tracer into more traditional studies of water cycling in the atmosphere. This work exploits the key feature that the water vapor isotope ratio (HDO/H2O) is sensitive to the history of moist processes acting during transport from the source region to the observation point and is therefore orthogonal to traditional water metrics. As such, closing water budgets with an incorrect balance of contributing fluxes (evaporation, precipitation, air mass mixing) gives rise to an observable isotope error, and gives guidance as to which fluxes deserve greater scrutiny. Our objective is to use TES observations of tropospheric water vapor and its isotopes along with two atmospheric general circulation models that include isotopic physics to help constrain atmospheric water budgets. We aim to establish which components of the water budgets are most influential to tropospheric moisture variability caused by the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the intra-seasonal Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) and tropical cyclones (TCs). To complement the data analysis, the water isotope-enabled versions of NASA GISS ModelE and NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) will be used to evaluate how well the observed data can be simulated in an AMIP-style mode (using observed changes in SST) and with wind nudging from the NCEP reanalysis. The comparisons will serve to validate the model physics, the isotope retrievals and provide quantitative measures of changes in water vapor budgets in the subtropics and tropics.

Project PI: Gavin Schmidt/ NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA

Phone: (212) 678 5627



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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010


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