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Soil moisture has strong effect on rainfall: Research

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-08-29 17:12

BEIJING -- Chinese researchers have discovered substantial effects of soil moisture on precipitation, specifically rainfall, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Based on remote sensing and analysis of data from 2010 to 2014, researchers from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of CAS applied a new causal detection method to explore the causality between soil moisture and rainfall over low- and mid-latitude regions in the northern hemisphere.

Major impacts of soil moisture on rainfall were identified. Specifically, the optimal effect occurred one month after the soil moisture was affected by last rainfall, clearly decreasing after four months.

In addition, as the climate changed from dry to wet, the effect of soil moisture on rainfall first increased and then decreased with peaks in semi-arid and semi-humid areas.

As a vital land surface parameter, soil moisture influences climate through its impact on water and energy cycles.

Soil moisture-rainfall interaction is an important topic in the land-atmosphere coupling research, as it has the potential to improve the accuracy of rainfall prediction and the monitoring of extreme events such as floods and droughts.

These findings also provide a reference for the design of climate prediction systems.

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