Smaller Sensitivity of Precipitation to Surface Temperature under Massive Atmospheres

Junyan Xiong, Jun Yang, Jiachen Liu

Submitted on 6 September 2022


Precipitation and its response to forcings is an important aspect of planetary climate system. In this study, we examine the strength of precipitation in the experiments with different atmospheric masses and their response to surface warming, using three global atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) and one regional cloud-resolving model (CRM). We find that precipitation is weaker when atmospheric mass is larger for a given surface temperature. Furthermore, the increasing rate of precipitation with increasing surface temperature under a larger atmospheric mass is smaller than that under a smaller atmospheric mass. These behaviors can be understood based on atmospheric or surface energy balance. Atmospheric mass influences Rayleigh scattering, multiple scattering in the atmosphere, pressure broadening, lapse rate, and thereby precipitation strength. These results have important implications on the climate and habitability of early Earth, early Mars, and exoplanets with oceans.


Subjects: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics; Physics - Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics