Amazonian Moisture Recycling Revisited Using WRF With Water Vapor Tracers

F. Dominguez, J. Eiras-Barca, Z. Yang, D. Bock, R. Nieto, L. Gimeno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have estimated that 25%–35% of Amazonian precipitation comes from evapotranspiration (ET) within the basin. However, due to simplifying assumptions of traditional models, these studies primarily focus on large spatial and temporal scales. This study is the first to analyze the moisture of Amazonian origin at the annual to daily timescale in four different subregions of the Amazon. We analyze the sources, sinks and stores of moisture that originates as Amazonian ET. To do this, we use the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) regional meteorological model with the added capability of water vapor tracers to track this moisture. Moisture of Amazonian origin shows strong annual and semi-annual signals, with contrasting behavior between the northern and southern parts of the basin. The tracers reveal a strong diurnal cycle of Amazonian water vapor which had not been previously reported. This signal is related to the diurnal cycle of ET, convective precipitation and advected moisture. ET's contribution to atmospheric moisture increases from early morning into the afternoon. Some of this moisture is rained out through convective storms in the early evening. Later in the night and following morning, strong winds associated with the South American Low Level Jet advect moisture downwind. The beating pattern becomes apparent when visualizing the Amazonian water vapor as an animation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021JD035259
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 27 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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