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Influence of persistence and oceanic forcing on global soil moisture predictability

Zhu, Siguang, Chen, Haishan, Dong, Xuan, Wei, Jiangfeng
Climate dynamics 2020 v.54 no.7-8 pp. 3375-3385
Earth system science, cloud cover, evaporation, regression analysis, soil water, spring, surface water temperature, tropics, wind speed, winter, North America, West Asia
Soil moisture is a key variable of the land surface and its variations are an important issue in climate studies. In this study, we employed the Community Earth System Model (CESM) for 20 ensemble member simulations of the 50-year period from 1965 to 2014 and used canonical correlation analysis (CCA) and multiple regression to analyze the spatiotemporal characteristics of soil moisture predictability. The effects of soil moisture persistence and sea surface temperature (SST) as an external forcing on its predictability were analyzed. Results show that the soil moisture predictability due to its persistence is 1–2 months and considering SST as an external forcing can significantly increase its predictability. Regions that exhibit a significant increase in predictability are mainly tropical regions, North America and Western Asia during winter and spring. In tropical regions, SST increases the predictability of soil moisture by influencing the local surface temperature and precipitation. In other regions, the effects of SST on wind speed, cloud cover, and surface evaporation also contribute significantly to the increase in soil moisture predictability. The results were validated through the analysis based on soil moisture data from land data assimilation system and observed precipitation.