US Climate Variability and Predictability Program

Water Cycle Linkages Between the Intra-American Seas and Continental Areas

George Mason University
Session II: Ocean-Land-Atmosphere interactions of the Continental Americas and the Caribbean
Water vapor can be treated as a passive tracer between the point where it enters the atmosphere via evaporation and the location where it condenses and falls as precipitation. Using gridded observational data sets of precipitation and atmospheric reanalyses for meteorological state variables and surface fluxes, we estimate the sources of moisture supplying rainfall over land areas surrounding the IAS. There is considerable transport of moisture from the IAS westward and northward into Central and North America, but very little southward into South America. Much of South America including much of the Amazon Basin have very little direct connection to oceanic evaporation. Extreme flooding events in the central US are associated with extreme transport, especially from the western Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
Presentation file