The rainfall-no rainfall transition in a coupled land-convective atmosphere system

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


A one-dimensional representation of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) depth is coupled to a soil moisture bucket model to dynamically explore the relative roles of surface and free atmospheric conditions on convective precipitation occurrence and resulting soil moisture states. This occurrence is taken to depend on the crossing of the ABL height and the lifting condensation level in the presence of pure convective instability. If rainfall occurs (unrealistically) whenever these conditions are met, and free atmospheric conditions are constant, the resulting system state evolves towards a limit cycle with precipitation every day or every few days, or to a completely dry state. The free atmospheric humidity profile has a larger effect on determining the stationary soil moisture state than the temperature profile. The effect of dry air entrainment on surface energy partitioning decreases soil moisture sensitivity to free atmospheric conditions. © 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Konings, AG, GG Katul and A Porporato (2010). The rainfall-no rainfall transition in a coupled land-convective atmosphere system. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(14). p. L14401. 10.1029/2010GL043967 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.