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Taking the pulse of the atmospheric water cycle

Harald Sodemann | University of Bergen

Abstract: The hydrological cycle is a large source of uncertainties in weather prediction and climate models. These uncertainties underlie several of the current challenges in meteorology and climate research, including quantifying the formation of extreme weather events, the impacts of man-made climate change, and reading the climate record from paleoarchives. Many advanced numerical diagnostics are available to disentangle the transport pathways of water vapor from source to sink and to identify links in the climate system on different time scales. Testing these diagnostics relies on difficult-to-collect data of evaporation sources and moisture transport. This talk explores how precise measurements of stable isotopes in water vapor, rain, and snow can be combined with advanced modelling tools to extract detailed views of the entire transport history of atmospheric waters. The resulting constraints on precipitation sources and phase changes during transport open doors towards more reliable theoretical and numerical models on the coupled Earth System.

Harald Sodemann  is a Professor in Meteorology at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, and a member of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.  He holds a PhD in Dynamic Meteorology from ETH Zürich. His research interests include atmospheric dynamics and transport processes on weather and climate time scales. A particular focus of his research lies on using a combination of theory, model-based diagnostics, and observational constraints to unravel the atmospheric water cycle and to connect evaporation, water vapor transport, and precipitation.