On the origin of continental precipitation
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 37, Issue 13, July 2010
How to Cite
2010), On the origin of continental precipitation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L13804, doi:10.1029/2010GL043712., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 2 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Received: 22 APR 2010
- continental precipitation;
- sources of moisture;
- Langrangian approach
 About 9 out of 10 liters of water evaporated from the oceans every year precipitates back onto oceans. However, the remaining 10% that get transported to continents play an irreplaceable role feeding the land branch of the hydrological cycle. Here we use an objective 3-D Lagrangian model (FLEXPART) to detect major oceanic moisture source areas and the associated continental regions significantly influenced by each moisture source. Our results reveal a highly asymmetrical supply of oceanic moisture to the continents, with the Northern Atlantic subtropical ocean source impacting the continents considerably more than the large Southern Indian and North Pacific sources. Also, the small Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea basins are important moisture sources for relatively large land areas. The Indian subcontinent receives moisture from six different major oceanic source regions. Future changes in meteorological conditions over the oceanic moisture source regions may have an impact on water availability for many river basins.