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Precipitation, Circulation, and Cloud Variability Over the Past Two Decades

Kao, Angela and Jiang, Xun and Li, Liming and Su, Hui and Yung, Yuk (2017) Precipitation, Circulation, and Cloud Variability Over the Past Two Decades. Earth and Space Science, 4 (9). pp. 597-606. ISSN 2333-5084. doi:10.1002/2017EA000319.

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To better understand the variability of precipitation, circulation, and cloud, we examine the precipitation, vertical velocity, total cloud fraction, condensed water path, and ice water path from observations and 13 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models over 1988–2008. All variables are averaged over wet areas and dry areas to investigate temporal variations of different variables over these regions. We found that all models demonstrate similar temporal variations of precipitation as the observational data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project, with positive trend over wet areas (6.22 ± 3.75 mm/mon/decade) and negative trend over dry areas (−0.77 ± 0.54 mm/mon/decade). Positive trends of vertical velocity, total cloud fraction, condensed water path, and ice water path are also found in the observations and models over the wet areas. Observations also demonstrate decreasing trends of vertical velocity, total clouds, condensed water path, and ice water path over the dry areas, which can be simulated by most models with a few exceptions. The qualitatively consistent trends in these variables (i.e., vertical velocity, cloud, liquid, and ice water contents) as revealed from the observations and CMIPS models provide a clearer picture of the dynamics and physics behind the temporal variations of precipitation over different areas.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Jiang, Xun0000-0001-8932-3807
Li, Liming0000-0002-5257-9849
Su, Hui0000-0003-1265-9702
Yung, Yuk0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2017 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Received 5 JUL 2017; Accepted 22 AUG 2017; Accepted article online 24 AUG 2017; Published online 8 SEP 2017. We thank an anonymous reviewer and the Editor for their time and helpful comments. The authors (Jiang and Kao) at the University of Houston and coauthor (Yung) at the California Institute of Technology were supported by NASA grants NNX13AC04G and NNX13AK34G. The coauthor (Su) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA, acknowledges the funding support from the NASA NEWS project. The coauthor (Li) at the University of Houston was supported by the NASA PDART program. GPCP V2.2 data are provided by the center of Earth System Research Laboratory at NCEP2 data are available at
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:precipitation variation; circulation and cloud; model simulations
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170825-152143722
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Kao, A., X. Jiang, L. Li, H. Su, and Y. Yung (2017), Precipitation, circulation, and cloud variability over the past two decades, Earth and Space Science, 4, 597–606, doi:10.1002/2017EA00031
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80813
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:28 Aug 2017 19:48
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:38

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