Climate Dynamics

, Volume 37, Issue 1–2, pp 171–186 | Cite as

Global and regional coupled climate sensitivity to the parameterization of rainfall interception

  • Jiafu Mao
  • Andrew J. Pitman
  • Steven J. Phipps
  • Gab Abramowitz
  • YingPing Wang


A coupled land–atmosphere model is used to explore the impact of seven commonly used canopy rainfall interception schemes on the simulated climate. Multiple 30-year simulations are conducted for each of the seven methods and results are analyzed in terms of the mean climatology and the probability density functions (PDFs) of key variables based on daily data. Results show that the method used for canopy interception strongly affects how rainfall is partitioned between canopy evaporation and throughfall. However, the impact on total evaporation is much smaller, and the impact on rainfall and air temperature is negligible. Similarly, the PDFs of canopy evaporation and transpiration for six selected regions are strongly affected by the method used for canopy interception, but the impact on total evaporation, temperature and precipitation is negligible. Our results show that the parameterization of rainfall interception is important to the surface hydrometeorology, but the seven interception parameterizations examined here do not cause a statistically significant impact on the climate of the coupled model. We suggest that broad scale climatological differences between coupled climate models are not likely the result of how interception is parameterized. This conclusion is inconsistent with inferences derived from earlier uncoupled simulations, or simulations using very simplified climate models.


Probability Density Function Couple Climate Model Total Evaporation Canopy Interception Rainfall Interception 
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.



We wish to thank Dr D Wang for providing the code for their interception schemes as well as two dedicated anonymous reviewers who greatly improved this paper. A. J. Pitman acknowledges support by the Australian Research Council (LP0774996).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiafu Mao
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Pitman
    • 1
  • Steven J. Phipps
    • 1
  • Gab Abramowitz
    • 1
  • YingPing Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Climate Change Research CentreThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric ResearchAspendaleAustralia

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