Precipitation recycling variability and ecoclimatological stability - A study using NARR data. Part II: North American monsoon region

Francina Dominguez, Praveen Kumar, Enrique R. Vivoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


This work studies precipitation recycling as part of the dynamic North American monsoon system (NAMS) to understand how moisture and energy fluxes modulate recycling variability at the daily-to-intraseasonal time scale. A set of land-atmosphere variables derived from North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data are used to represent the hydroclimatology of the monsoon. The recycling ratio is estimated using the Dynamic Recycling Model, which provides recycling estimates at the daily time scales. Multichannel singular spectrum analysis (M-SSA) is used to extract trends in the data while at the same time selecting only the variability common to all of the variables. The 1985-2006 climatological analysis of NAMS precipitation recycling reveals a positive feedback mechanism between monsoon precipitation and subsequent increase in precipitation of recycled origin. Recycling ratios during the monsoon are consistently above 15% and can be as high as 25%. While monsoon precipitation and evapotranspiration are predominantly located in the seasonally dry tropical forests in the southwestern part of the domain, recycling is enhanced northeast of this region, indicating a relocation of soil moisture farther inland to drier regions in the northeast. The three years with the longest monsoons in the 22-yr period present an asynchronous pattern between precipitation and recycling ratio. The longest monsoons have a characteristic double peak in precipitation, with enhanced recycling ratios during the intermediate dry period. This indicates that, even when large-scale moisture advection decreases, evapotranspiration provides moisture to the overlying atmosphere, contributing to precipitation. Through the negative feedback present during long monsoons and by relocation of soil moisture, precipitation recycling brings favorable conditions for vegetation sustenance in the NAMS region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5187-5203
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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