Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 12, 741–753, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-12-741-2005

Special issue: Nonlinear deterministic dynamics in hydrologic systems: present...

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 12, 741–753, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-12-741-2005

  29 Jul 2005

29 Jul 2005

Role of the hydrological cycle in regulating the planetary climate system of a simple nonlinear dynamical model

K. M. Nordstrom1, V. K. Gupta2,3, and T. N. Chase2,4 K. M. Nordstrom et al.
  • 1Colorado Research Associates, 3380 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, Colorado 80301, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA
  • 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA
  • 4Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA

Abstract. We present the construction of a dynamic area fraction model (DAFM), representing a new class of models for an earth-like planet. The model presented here has no spatial dimensions, but contains coupled parameterizations for all the major components of the hydrological cycle involving liquid, solid and vapor phases. We investigate the nature of feedback processes with this model in regulating Earth's climate as a highly nonlinear coupled system. The model includes solar radiation, evapotranspiration from dynamically competing trees and grasses, an ocean, an ice cap, precipitation, dynamic clouds, and a static carbon greenhouse effect. This model therefore shares some of the characteristics of an Earth System Model of Intermediate complexity. We perform two experiments with this model to determine the potential effects of positive and negative feedbacks due to a dynamic hydrological cycle, and due to the relative distribution of trees and grasses, in regulating global mean temperature. In the first experiment, we vary the intensity of insolation on the model's surface both with and without an active (fully coupled) water cycle. In the second, we test the strength of feedbacks with biota in a fully coupled model by varying the optimal growing temperature for our two plant species (trees and grasses). We find that the negative feedbacks associated with the water cycle are far more powerful than those associated with the biota, but that the biota still play a significant role in shaping the model climate. third experiment, we vary the heat and moisture transport coefficient in an attempt to represent changing atmospheric circulations.