May 26, 2023
A simple framework to characterize land aridity based on surface energy partitioning regimes
AbstractLand aridity is often characterized by the aridity index (AI), which does not account for land surface water-energy interactions that are crucially important in determining regional climate. Such interactions can be captured by the evaporative fraction (EF, ratio of evapotranspiration to available energy) regimes. As EF is subject to energy and water limitations in humid and dry areas, respectively, EF regimes may be used to characterize land aridity to account for the influence of complex land characteristics and their impact on water availability. Here, we propose a simple framework to characterize land aridity by statistically ranking the coupling strength between EF and surface energy and water terms. The framework is demonstrated using gridded data and compared with AI over the U.S. and China. Results show that regionalization of aridity zones based on EF regimes and a two-tiered classification scheme may provide information such as surface energy and water variability complementary to the background aridity depicted by AI, with implications for extreme events.
Published: May 26, 2023