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  1. AGU Web Site: Water Vapor in the Climate System. A Special Report.
  2. Introduction
  3. The climate machine

Certain projects like GCIP allow have focused on continental scale observations provide better prediction for project areas; however, areas outside these project areas may lag in receiving forecasting improvements. Many of the deficiencies in Phase I are improvement areas within the objectives of Phase II of the project. The proposed Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite would provide the detail of soil moisture information on a daily basis may provide the data needed for real time forecasting.

These include changes in the Earth's energy budget and water cycle, contribution of processes in climate feedback, causes of natural variability, predicting changes on seasonal or annual timescales, and how changes impact water resources. Phase II of is designed to be active models that have use to regional resource managers in real time. Reports from the phase I are still being produced and it will be some time before the results of the second phase are available. The experiment is still in progress. There are several regional project areas most of these are now covered by CEOP.

The CEOP project has a number of energy budget and water cycle objectives. First is to produce more consistent research with better error definitions. Second is to better determine how energy flux and water cycles involve in feedback mechanisms.

Third is to the predictability of important variables and improved parametric analysis to better model these processes. Fourth, to collaborate with other hydrological science projects to create tools for assessing the water-system consequences of predictions and global climate change.

GEWEX Radiation panel GRP is a collaborative organization with a goal of reviewing theoretical and experimental knowledge of radiative processes within the climate system. GPCP task was to estimate precipitation using satellites that were global including places where people were not present to take measurements.

Secondarily the project was tasked with studying regional precipitation on seasonal to between year time scales. As the study period of the project increased past 25 years a third objective was added analyze long-term variation, such as that caused by global warming. Also, in a renewed effort for better data and with more observation satellites, the GPCP, hopes to gain insights to rainfall variation on 'weather'-scale, or 4-hour periods to daily time scales.

The finding suggests there is no significant variation in mean annual rainfall. Satellites used to train the dataset analysis have the flaw of not having inaccurate measurements of drizzle and snow, and lack measurements in isolated places and over oceans.

AGU Web Site: Water Vapor in the Climate System. A Special Report.

The rainfall maps show the greatest absolute rainfall error over the tropical oceans in regions with the highest estimated rainfall. The report self-critiques two aspects: the lack of polar-crossing satellites at the beginning of the study and the inability to correlate new information and older information ground-based measurements. The noticeable trends in the dataset were deemed insignificant with regard to issues like global warming, but some stand-out positive trends over the Indopacific region were notable Bay of Bengal and Indochina and negative trends over South Central Africa.

The energy that comes from the sun strikes the atmosphere and scatters, clouds and is reflected, the earth or water where heat and light are radiated back into the atmosphere or space. When water is struck heated surface water can evaporate carrying energy back into space through cloud formation and rain.

At the onset of GEWEX there was inadequate information on how radiation redistributed, both horizontally and vertically. BSRN is a global system of less than 40 widely spread radiation measuring devices designed to measure changes in radiation at the Earth's surface. Climate forcing is a process of study which observes the contribution of irregular events, such a volcano eruption, greenhouse warming, solar variation, fluctuations in the Earth's orbit, long-term variation in the oceans circulation. The GMPP exploits these natural perturbations to test models developed that should predict what happens to global energy and water budgets with the perturbations.

The study is tasked with understanding the physical properties of the atmospheric boundary layers for better models which include representation of boundary layers. GCSS identifies 5 types of cloud systems:boundary layer, cirrus, extra tropical layer, precipitating convective, and polar. These cloud systems are generally too small to be rationalized in large scale climate modelling, this results in inadequate development of equations resulting in greater statistical uncertainty in results.

In order to rationalize these processes, the study observes cloud systems at single fixed positions on earth in order to better estimate their parameters. The initial data collection is complete, methods developed for land and aircraft-based observations can be compared with satellite observations so that better models of cloud system identification can be made at smaller scales. Changes in land as a result of natural and man-made activities results in the ability to alter the local climate and affect wind and cloud formation. The study period for GEWEX is 22 years, and while some climate oscillations are short, such as El-Nino, some climate oscillations last for decades, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation.

This modelling may be complicated by the fact that the North Atlantic Oscillation in switching state see graph as the effects of global warming are becoming more prominent. For example, and saw one of the most dramatic declines in Arctic Sea ice, a decline that was largely unpredicted and can shift the late summer albedo in the northern hemisphere.

In , sea ice extent decline has backed off from the previous years' trend, and researchers had forecast a strong La Nina event for late and With this, the loss of Northern Polar sea ice has begun to accelerate back toward the earlier trend. Such rapid and unexpected changes in climate-forcing events eventually suggest that modellers need to include parameters such as ocean temperature thermoclines, energy accumulation in the tropical oceans, sea ice extents in the polar regions, land glacial ice retraction in Greenland, and sheet ice and shelf ice remodelling in Antarctica.

In addition, sampling points may be spread to monitor leading indicators in one common scenario may be useless during an oscillation where the pool of energy shifts to an unmonitored region so that the magnitude of the shift avoids computation. The onset of the cycle can be influenced by global warming, which facilitated a larger increase of warm water in the tropics, rapidly enough that the thermocline was tolerant. A thermocline is a sharp temperature drop at depth; it varies during the year, with location, and over long periods of time. As the thermocline depth increases El-Nino events are more likely; however, during the peak of the event energy is dissipated and the thermocline decreases depth, possibly to below normal levels so the a strong La-Nina event can results.

The world's oceans, particularly the depths of the Atlantic, are believed to be a sink for CO 2 that is adsorbed at the polar regions, as this builds into the Pacific the upwelling and warming of water can bring CO 2 -rich waters trapped in the cold pressurized bottom layers to the surface. Local increases of CO 2 occur which allow more heat-trapping; the La-Nina may be mild or aborted early in the process.


However, if the return of the thermocline has enough momentum it could propel a strong La-Nina event that last for a few years. The Pacific Decadal Anomaly PDA See image may influence the source, direction or momentum of rise of the cold water component of the thermocline. These unknowns affect the ability for climate modellers to predict and indicate climate-forcing models need to accurate a wider sampling of data to be predictive. This ice-age may have been aborted by other factors including global warming. Such a stalling of long-term cycles is believed to be a factor in the Dryas period, a warming interrupted by surface impacts of extraterrestrial origin may have occurred over hundreds of years.

But the anthropogenic greenhouse effects and changing insolation patterns may have unpredictable long-term effects. Reductions of glacial ice on land masses can cause isotatic rebounds and may affect earthquakes and volcanism over a wide range. Rising sea levels can also affect patterns, and was seen in Indonesia, simply drilling a gas well in the wrong place may have touched off a mud volcano and there are some signs that this may precede a new caldera formation for a volcano. Over the very long term, the change in temperature of the Earth's crust on geothermal and volcanic processes is unknown.

How this plays into climate-forcing events with magnitudes that are unpredictable is unknown. The critiques at GEWEX can only be thrust at current results, which have added much more information about climate modelling that have created critiques, the major thrust of modelling was originally intended to be part of Phase II which will, after 4 years, produce its results. The other major critique is the inability to capture decadal rainfall events, events that frequently occur over a few hours. Therefore, more measurements documenting shorter time frames may provide essential data for almost continuous data set.

Many of the critiques above may be compensated for with better data requiring better models including insolation and changes in reflection. The problem with variation in ocean currents, particular with respect to thermocline depths requires more oceanography as part of the project, as with losses of ice and changes of climate on the ice edges.

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The climate machine

On land the situation is considerably more complex, and includes the deposition of rain and snow on land; water flow in runoff; infiltration of water into the soil and groundwater; storage of water in soil, lakes and streams, and groundwater; polar and glacial ice; and use of water in vegetation and human activities. Illustration of the water cycle showing the ocean, land, mountains, and rivers returning to the ocean. Processes labeled include: precipitation, condensation, evaporation, evaportranspiration from tree into atmosphere , radiative exchange, surface runoff, ground water and stream flow, infiltration, percolation and soil moisture.

Evaporation "E" controls the loss of fresh water and precipitation "P" governs most of the gain of fresh water. Scientists monitor the relationship between these two primary processes in the oceans. Inputs from rivers and melting ice can also contribute to fresh water gains. Evaporation minus precipitation is usually referred to as the net flux of fresh water or the total fresh water in or out of the oceans. E-P determines surface salinity of the ocean, which helps determine the stability of the water column.

Salinity and temperature determine the density of ocean water, and density influences the circulation. Precipitation also affects the height of the ocean surface indirectly via salinity and density. The ocean surface is constantly being stirred up by wind and changes in density or buoyancy.

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The ocean naturally has different physical characteristics with depth.