RCCM2-BATS model over tropical South America: Applications to tropical deforestation

Andrea N. Hahmann, Robert E. Dickinson

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A multiyear simulation of the global climate uses a revised version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model Version 2 (CCM2) coupled to the Biosphere–Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS). It is compared with global and rain gauge precipitation climatologies to evaluate precipitation fields and European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts analyses to evaluate the atmospheric circulation. The near-surface climate is compared with data from Amazonian field campaigns. The model simulation of the South American climate agrees closely with the observational record and is much improved from past simulations with previous versions of the NCAR Community Climate Model over this portion of the Tropics. The model is then used to study the local and regional response to tropical deforestation over Amazonia. In addition to the standard deforestation forcing, consisting mainly of increased albedo and decreased roughness length, two additional sensitivity experiments were conducted to assess the individual contributions from these forcings to the deforestation changes. The standard deforestation simulation shows slight increases in annually averaged surface temperature (118C) and reductions in annually averaged precipitation and evaporation (2363 and 2149 mm yr21, respectively).
As expected, increases in surface albedo over Amazonia produce a reduction in net downward solar radiation at the surface and consequently a reduction in net surface radiation and surface latent heat flux. The roughness decrease, on the other hand, reduces the surface latent heat fluxes through decreases in the surface drag coefficient. The regional changes in moisture convergence and precipitation during the Amazonian wet season display a shift in the area of maximum precipitation rather than an overall decrease over the deforested area. These shifts are evidently produced by a combination of the changes in the low-level circulation and a decrease in the efficiency of precipitation recycling within Amazonia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Climate
Pages (from-to)1944-1964
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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