Atmospheric temperature and humidity observations for advancing monitoring and prediction of drought in California and the Southwestern US

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Ali Behrangi, Stephanie L Granger, Eric J Fetzer and Bjorn Lambrigtsen, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The water holding capacity of air increases as climate warms, but water vapor content over land cannot increase sufficiently fast to overcome the deficit between saturated and actual water vapor pressure. We have developed time series of atmospheric temperature, humidity, and vapor pressure deficit from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and other sources and analyzed recent droughts in the southwestern U. S. and California. Here we show some highlights of early results and describe the utility of temperature and humidity data for improved understanding of atmospheric background effects related to drought, its onset, and conditions that are not captured by traditional drought predictors.