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Weather and Climate Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-42
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-42
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  15 Sep 2020

15 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Lagrangian detection of precipitation moisture sources for an arid region in northeast Greenland: relations to the North Atlantic Oscillation, sea ice cover and temporal trends from 1979 to 2017

Lilian Schuster1, Fabien Maussion1, Lukas Langhamer2, and Gina E. Moseley3 Lilian Schuster et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences (ACINN), University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Department of Geography, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science, Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 3Institute of Geology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. Temperature in northeast Greenland is expected to rise at a faster rate than the global average as consequence of anthropogenic climate change. Associated with this temperature rise, precipitation is also expected to increase as a result of increased evaporation from a warmer and ice-free Arctic Ocean. In recent years, numerous palaeoclimate projects have begun working in the region with the aim of improving our understanding of how this highly-sensitive region responds to a warmer world. However, a lack of meteorological stations within the area makes it difficult to place the palaeoclimate records in the context of present-day climate. This study aims to improve our understanding of precipitation and moisture source dynamics over a small arid region located at 80° N in northeast Greenland. The origin of water vapour for precipitation over the study region is detected by a Lagrangian moisture source diagnostic, which is applied to reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ERA-Interim) from 1979 to 2017. While precipitation amounts are relatively constant during the year, the regional moisture sources display a strong seasonality. The most dominant winter moisture sources are the North Atlantic above 45° N and the ice-free Atlantic sector of the Arctic Ocean, while in summer the patterns shift towards local and north Eurasian continental sources. During the positive phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), evaporation and moisture transport from the Norwegian Sea is stronger, resulting in larger and more variable precipitation amounts. Testing the hypothesis that retreating sea ice will lead to increase in moisture supply remains challenging based on our data. However, we found that moisture sources are increasing in case of retreating sea ice for some regions, in particular in October to December. Although the annual mean surface temperature in the study region has increased by 0.7 °C dec-1 (95 % confidence interval [0.4, 1.0] °C dec-1) according to ERA-Interim data, we do not detect any change in the amount of precipitation with the exception of autumn where precipitation increases by 8.2 [0.8, 15.5] mm dec-1 over the period. This increase is consistent with future predicted Arctic precipitation change. Moisture source trends for other months and regions were non-existent or small.

Lilian Schuster et al.

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Lagrangian moisture sources for an arid region in northeast Greenland Lilian Schuster, Fabien Maussion, Lukas Langhamer, and Gina E. Moseley https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3972882

Lilian Schuster et al.

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Short summary
Precipitation and moisture sources over an arid region in northeast Greenland are investigated from 1979 to 2017 by a Lagrangian moisture source diagnostic driven by reanalysis data. Dominant winter moisture sources are the North Atlantic above 45° N. In summer local and north Eurasian continental sources dominate. In positive phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation, evaporation and moisture transport from the Norwegian Sea is stronger, resulting in more precipitation.
Precipitation and moisture sources over an arid region in northeast Greenland are investigated...
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