The modelling of radiation processes are essential to our understanding of the energy cycles between the land surface and the atmosphere. In addition to which they provide an important input to the planning of solar energy programmes.
Radiation & Temperature
El Nino's impact on continental evaporation
22 January 2014
As global temperatures gradually increase, more water is expected to evaporate into the atmosphere. But using satellite data, scientists have discovered that El Niño-induced droughts have caused global declines in evapotranspiration despite rising temperatures.
Terrestrial evaporation, or evapotranspiration, is the transfer of water from soil and vegetation into the atmosphere. It's a critical component of the global water cycle and, in recent years, it has gained increased attention due to its role in global warming and water cycle intensification.
It is well known that evaporation rates increase as temperature rises. A simple example is hanging wet clothes outside to dry: if it is hot outside, they dry faster than if it is cooler.
This notion makes it surprising that, despite rising global temperatures, several studies have reported declines in the global average volumes of evapotranspiration in recent years. The reason is simple: evapotranspiration does not depend only on temperature and solar radiation, but also on how much water is available in the soil to evaporate.
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