Climate Dynamics

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 299–312 | Cite as

Impact of the convection-wind-evaporation feedback on surface climate simulation in general circulation models

  • M. H. Zhang


The wind-evaporation-convection feedback in the tropics is demonstrated to strongly affect the mean state of surface climate in atmospheric general circulation models. The feedback is shown to be very effective in channeling perturbations from one component of the climate system to other components, e.g., from evaporation to surface wind and from atmospheric convective activity to evaporation. It also provides an effective channel to pass on atmospheric perturbations in the middle and upper troposphere to the surface. As an illustration, it is shown that surface evaporation over tropical oceans is connected with cloud absorption of shortwave radiation through this feedback. Insufficient shortwave cloud absorption, causing excessive shortwave radiation at the surface as is common in most of the climate models, leads to excessive evaporation. Quantitatively, sensitivity of evaporation to short-wave cloud absorption, when averaged over the whole tropics, can be described by an approximate balance of variations in atmospheric radiative cooling and latent heating. This balance is achieved by the impact of radiation on convection, and then on the surface wind and evaporation. This mechanism calls for the need to include atmospheric processes far beyond the surface for improvements of the quality of surface climate simulation.


Evaporation Convection Latent Heating General Circulation Model Surface Wind 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres, Marine Sciences Research CenterState University of New York at Stony BrookUSA

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