Contrasting response of hydrological cycle over land and ocean to a changing CO2 pathway

Sang Wook Yeh, Se Yong Song, Richard P. Allan, Soon Il An, Jongsoo Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The hydrological cycle has a significant impact on human activities and ecosystems, so understanding its mechanisms with respect to a changing climate is essential. In particular, a more detailed understanding of hydrological cycle response to transient climate change is required for successful adaptation and mitigation policies. In this study, we exploit large ensemble model experiments using the Community Earth System Model version 1.2.2 (CESM1) in which CO2 concentrations increase steadily and then decrease along the same path. Our results show that precipitation changes in the CO2 increasing and decreasing phases are nearly symmetrical over land but asymmetric over oceans. After CO2 concentrations peak, the ocean continues to uptake heat from the atmosphere, which is a key process leading the hydrological cycle’s contrasting response over land and ocean. The symmetrical hydrological cycle response over land involves a complex interplay between rapid responses to CO2 and slower responses to ensuing warming. Therefore, the surface energy constraints lead to the contrasting hydrological response over land and ocean to CO2 forcing that needs to be verified and considered in climate change mitigation and adaption actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Journalnpj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Research Foundation Grant NRF-2018R1A5A1024958.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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