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Summer soil–precipitation coupling in South America

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The soil moisture memory contributes to atmospheric variability and seasonal predictability and could potentially affect the development of the South American Monsoon System. The relative importance of the local land surface feedbacks and the large-scale dynamical processes during the different phases of the monsoon are still largely unknown. We examine the impacts of land surface conditions during the mature monsoon phase with the Rossby Centre Atmospheric regional model through calculating the coupling strength between soil moisture, evapotranspiration and precipitation. Regions of high coupling strength (hotspots) are identified and analysed focusing on the link between soil moisture–evapotranspiration coupling and soil moisture–precipitation coupling, the relation between the coupling strength and seasonal predictability and the hotspots importance for extreme precipitation events. La Plata Basin and northeastern Brazil are identified as hotspots due to evapotranspiration recycling. A region within the South Atlantic Convergence Zone is identified as a hotspot of precipitation explained by moisture advection. Extreme precipitation events are repressed in parts of La Plata Basin when the link between precipitation and soil moisture is cut through using prescribed soil moisture.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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