loading page

Terrestrial Evaporation and Moisture Drainage in a Warmer Climate
  • +2
  • Daniel J. Short Gianotti,
  • Ruzbeh Akbar,
  • Andrew F. Feldman,
  • Guido D. Salvucci,
  • Dara Enthekabi
Daniel J. Short Gianotti
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Ruzbeh Akbar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author Profile
Andrew F. Feldman
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author Profile
Guido D. Salvucci
Boston University
Author Profile
Dara Enthekabi
Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Author Profile


To determine hydrologic changes in a warmer climate, we impose precipitation and potential evaporation perturbations on hydrologic response functions constructed from precipitation and satellite soil moisture observations across the United States. Despite nonlinearities in the evaporation (E) and drainage (D) responses and opposing-sign perturbations, changes in individual fluxes are superposable. Empirical frameworks (Budyko) can misrepresent changes in E/D partitioning by neglecting shifts/trends in hydrologic regime and subseasonal precipitation dynamics. E/D both increase to balance mean precipitation (P) increases, and increased E reduces soil moisture. E and D are generally more elastic to changes in P than E. The results suggest that (1) the impacts of regional hydrologic perturbations may allow for simple superposition/scaling, (2) changes in timing/intensity of precipitation may have substantial impacts on mean moisture states and fluxes, and (3) changes to the distribution of surface moisture states are likely more relevant for E/D partitioning than common aridity indices.
16 Mar 2020Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 47 issue 5. 10.1029/2019GL086498