Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-284
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-284
11 Jun 2021
 | 11 Jun 2021
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

The contribution of transpiration, ground evaporation, and canopy evaporation to local and remote precipitation across North America

Tyler S. Harrington, Jesse Nusbaumer, and Christopher B. Skinner

Abstract. Land surface evapotranspiration (ET) is a major source of moisture for the global hydrologic cycle. Though the influence of the land surface is well documented, moisture tracking analysis has often relied on offline tracking approaches that require simplifying assumptions and can bias results. Additionally, the contribution of the ET components (transpiration (T), canopy evaporation (C), and ground evaporation (E)) individually to precipitation is not well understood, inhibiting our understanding of moisture teleconnections in both the current and future climate. Here we use the Community Earth System Model version 1.2 with online numerical water tracers to examine the contribution of local and remote land surface ET, including the contribution from each individual ET component, to precipitation across North America. We find the role of the land surface and the individual ET components varies considerably across the continent and across seasons. Much of northern and northeastern North America receives up to 80% of summertime precipitation from land surface ET, and over 50 % of that moisture originates from transpiration alone. Local moisture recycling constitutes an essential source of precipitation across much of the southern and western regions of North America, while remote land surface moisture supplies most of the land-based precipitation across northern and eastern North America. Though the greatest contribution of remotely sourced land ET occurs in the north and east, we find the primary sources of North American land surface moisture shifts seasonally. The results highlight regions that are especially sensitive to land cover and hydrologic changes in local and upwind areas, providing key insights for drought prediction and water resource management.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Tyler S. Harrington, Jesse Nusbaumer, and Christopher B. Skinner

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-284', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Tyler Harrington, 16 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-284', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Tyler Harrington, 16 Aug 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-284', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Tyler Harrington, 16 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-284', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Tyler Harrington, 16 Aug 2021
Tyler S. Harrington, Jesse Nusbaumer, and Christopher B. Skinner
Tyler S. Harrington, Jesse Nusbaumer, and Christopher B. Skinner

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Short summary
The land surface supplies the atmosphere with water through the process of evaporation. Previous studies indicate land surface evaporation is important for precipitation, but the source origin of evaporation (plants, plant canopies, soils, or lakes) is largely unknown. We show that plants supply most of the land surface evaporation for precipitation across much of North America during the warm season. We also find links between evaporation in upwind land regions and precipitation downwind.