High-resolution assessment of North Atlantic moisture transport in current climate and CMIP-6 future projections (SETESTRELO)


Moisture transport is a dominant factor for changes in the hydrological cycle, with higher impacts on extremes rather than on averages.
There is no doubt that the risk of precipitation extremes and droughts is likely to increase with climate change, and the last IPCC report points to that global climate models are limited and need regional modelling. The central objective of this project is a high-resolution assessment of the moisture transport in the North Atlantic for current and future climates using ERA5 reanalysis and CMIP6 outputs with increased resolution through dynamic models adjusted to regional meteorology of the North Atlantic region. At to our knowledge, there are not studies using CMIP6 models and their new emission scenarios (RCPs-SSPs) to study the projection of moisture transport, its mechanisms as ARs and LLJs, and its relationship (dependence) with extremes of precipitation and droughts in future climates in the North Atlantic region; no regionalisations exists that use dynamic downscaling experiments for this purpose, and even less Lagrangian studies have been conducted to identify future changes in the sources and sinks of moisture, which are the focus of this project.
We will perform multiple dynamic downscaling experiments using the regional Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for two regions, one centred on the North Atlantic Ocean and the other in Central America, using two nested domains (30 and 10 km of spatial resolution). WRF will be forced with ERA5 reanalysis and three CMIP6 Global Climate Models with three sets of simulations: the historical climatic conditions (1994-2014, also for ERA5), the conditions for the middle and end of the century (2040-2060 and 2080-2100), and two of the new scenarios -SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5-. Then, to determine the historical and future extensions of major moisture sources located in the North Atlantic and the associated sinks over continents we will use the moisture transport the FLEXPART-WRFv3.3.2 Lagrangian model. The model will be forced with the forty different sets of high-resolution WRF outputs obtained in the dynamical downscaling to track the trajectory of atmospheric particles to calculate variations in specific humidity
along their pathways at high horizontal resolution. As the mechanisms of transport are crucial for impacts, we will determine changes in future climates of ARs and LLJs occurrence and their characteristics linked to the moisture transported by these systems. To understand how the hydrological cycle is altered by dynamic and thermodynamic processes related to climate change the determination of the residence time of water vapour in the atmosphere (WVRT) is a fundamental parameter. We will determine how changes in the WVRT (measured by several methods) influenced by changes in the large-scale circulation patterns modulate moisture transport and associated precipitation extremes in climate change hotspots in the North Atlantic region.
The more precise information about the high-resolution regional moisture transport and changes in the hydrological cycles from this project will make possible to distinguish the effects of impacts in the short, medium, and long term, and will be crucial for implementing early prevention and adaptation measures, reducing vulnerabilities, and mitigating potential risks.


The general objective of this project is a high-resolution assessment of the moisture transport in the North Atlantic for current and future climates using ERA5 reanalysis and CMIP6 outputs with increased resolution through dynamic models adjusted to regional meteorology.


There is a need for address how moisture transport, its mechanisms, and its relationship with extremes of precipitation and droughts will change in the future climate.


Project technical report 



29. L. Gimeno-SoteloM. StojanovicR. SoríR. Nieto, S. Vicente-Serrano, L. Gimeno (2024) Nexus between the deficit in moisture transport and drought occurrence in regions with projected drought trendsEnvironmental Research Letters; doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ad560b [pdf]

28. A. Pérez-AlarcónM. Vázquez, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2024) Evaluation of WRF model configurations for dynamic downscaling of tropical cyclones activity over the North Atlantic basin for Lagrangian moisture tracking analysis in future climateAtmospheric Research; doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2024.107498 [pdf]

27. A. Pérez-AlarcónJ. C. Fernández-Álvarez, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2024) Insights into the origin of precipitation moisture for tropical cyclones during rapid intensification processTropical Cyclone Research and Review; doi: 10.1016/j.tcrr.2024.05.001 [pdf]

26. A. Pérez-AlarcónP. Coll-HidalgoJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. Sorí, R.P. da Rocha, M. Simões Reboita, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2024) Quantifying the related precipitation and moisture sources in the lifecycle of subtropical cyclones in the South Atlantic basinQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society; doi: 10.1002/qj.4734  [pdf]

25. L. Gimeno-Sotelo, A. El Kenawy, M. Franquesa, I. Noguera, B. Fernández-Duque, F. Domínguez-Castro, D. Peña-Angulo, F. Reig, R. Sorí, L. GimenoR. Nieto, S. Vicente-Serrano (2024) Assessment of the Global Relationship of Different Types of Droughts in Model Simulations Under High Anthropogenic EmissionsEarth´s Future 12(4); doi:10.1029/2023EF003629 [pdf]

24. L. Gimeno-Sotelo, E. Bevacqua, J. C. Fernández-Álvarez, D. Barriopedro, J. Zscheischler, L. Gimeno (2024) Projected changes in extreme daily precipitation linked to changes in precipitable water and vertical velocity in CMIP6 modelsAtmospheric Research, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2024.107413 [pdf]

23. A. Pérez-AlarcónJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. NietoL. Gimeno (2024) LATTIN: A Python-based tool for Lagrangian atmospheric moisture and heat trackingSoftware Impacts, DOI: 10.1016/j.simpa.2024.100638 [pdf]

22. L. Gimeno-SoteloR. SoríR. Nieto, S. Vicente-Serrano, L. Gimeno (2024) Unravelling the origin of the atmospheric moisture deficit that leads to droughtsNature Water, doi: 10.1038/s44221-023-00192-4  [pdf]

21. A. Pérez-AlarcónP. Coll-HidalgoJ. C. Fernández-Álvarez, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Impacts of tropical cyclones on the global water budgetnpj Climate and Atmospheric Science  6 , 212 ; doi: 10.1038/s41612-023-00546-5 [pdf]

20. J. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezA. Pérez-AlarcónJ. Eiras-Barca, S. Rahimi, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Projected changes in atmospheric moisture transport contributions associated with climate warming in the North AtlanticNature Communications 14, 6476 ; doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41915-1 [pdf]

19. M. Andres-Martin, C. Azorin-Molina, C. Shen, J. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezL. Gimeno, S. Vicente-Serrano, J. Zha (2023) Uncertainty in surface wind speed projections over the Iberian Peninsula: CMIP6 GCMs versus a WRF-RCMAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences; doi: 10.1111/nyas.15063 [pdf]

18. L. Gimeno-Sotelo, E. Bevacqua, L. Gimeno (2023) Combinations of drivers that most favor the occurrence of daily precipitation extremesAtmospheric Research 294, 106959 ; doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2023.106959 [pdf]

17. G. Alvarez-SocorroJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. Nieto (2023) Moisture Source Analysis of Two Case Studies of Major Extreme Precipitation Events in Summer in the Iberian PeninsulaAtmosphere 14(8), 1213; doi: 10.3390/atmos14081213 [pdf]

16. A. Pérez-AlarcónP. Coll-HidalgoJ. C. Fernández-Álvarez, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Climatological variations of moisture sources for precipitation of North Atlantic tropical cyclones linked to their tracksAtmospheric Research 290, 106778; doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2023.106778  [pdf]

15. G. Alvarez-SocorroJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezL. Gimeno (2023) Space-Time Causality Analysis of Regional Impacts of ENSO on Terrestrial and Oceanic PrecipitationAtmosphere 14(5), 841; doi: 10.3390/atmos14050841  [pdf]

14. J. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezA. Pérez-AlarcónJ. Eiras-Barca, A.M. Ramos, S. Rahimi-Esfarjani, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Changes in moisture sources of atmospheric rivers landfalling the Iberian Peninsula with WRF-FlexpartJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, doi: 10.1029/2022JD037612 [pdf]

13. A. Pérez-AlarcónP. Coll-HidalgoJ. C. Fernández-Álvarez, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) The rare case of Hurricane Catarina (2004) over the South Atlantic Ocean: The origin of its precipitation through a Lagrangian approachQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, doi: 10.1002/qj.4452 [pdf]

12. A. Pérez-AlarcónJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. Sorí, M.L.R. Liberato, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) How much of precipitation over the Euroregion Galicia – Northern Portugal is due to tropical-origin cyclones?: A Lagrangian approachAtmospheric Research 285, 106640 ; doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2023.106640 [pdf]

11. A. Pérez-AlarcónP. Coll-HidalgoJ. C. Fernández-Álvarez, R.M. Trigo, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Evaluating changes in the moisture sources for tropical cyclones precipitation in the North Atlantic that underwent extratropical transitionGeophysical Research Letters; doi: 10.1029/2022GL102120 [pdf]

10. A. Pérez-AlarcónR. SoríJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Moisture Source for the Precipitation of Tropical Cyclones Over the Pacific Ocean Through a Lagrangian ApproachJournal of Climate; doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-22-0287.1 [pdf]

9. J. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezM. VázquezA. Pérez-AlarcónR. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Comparison of Moisture Sources and Sinks Estimated with Different Versions of FLEXPART and FLEXPART-WRF Models Forced with ECMWF Reanalysis DataJournal of Hydrometeorology, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-22-0018.1 [pdf]

8. J. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezX. CostoyaA. Pérez-Alarcón, S. Rahimi, R. NietoL. Gimeno (2023) Dynamic downscaling of wind speed over the North Atlantic Ocean using CMIP6 projections: Implications for offshore wind power densityEnergy Reports 9; 873-885; doi: 10.1016/j.egyr.2022.12.036 [pdf]

7. L. Gimeno-SoteloL. Gimeno (2023) Where does the link between atmospheric moisture transport and extreme precipitation matter?Weather and Climate Extremes 39, 100536; doi: 10.1016/j.wace.2022.100536 [pdf]

6. R. SoríL. Gimeno-SoteloR. Nieto, M.L.R. Liberato, M. StojanovicA. Pérez-AlarcónJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezL. Gimeno (2023) Oceanic and terrestrial origin of precipitation over 50 major world river basins: Implications for the occurrence of droughtScience of The Total Environment 859(2); doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160288 [pdf]

5. J. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezA. Pérez-AlarcónR. NietoL. Gimeno (2022) TROVA: TRansport Of water VAporSoftwareX 20; doi: 10.1016/j.softx.2022.101228 [pdf]

4. A. Pérez-AlarcónJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. SoríR. NietoL. Gimeno (2022) Moisture source identification for precipitation associated with tropical cyclone development over the Indian Ocean: a Lagrangian approachClimate Dynamics; doi: 10.1007/s00382-022-06429-4  [pdf]

3. P. Coll-HidalgoA. Pérez-AlarcónR. Nieto (2022) Moisture Sources for the Precipitation of Tropical-like Cyclones in the Mediterranean Sea: A Case of StudyAtmosphere 13(8); doi: 10.3390/atmos13081327  [pdf]

2. P. Coll-HidalgoA. Pérez-AlarcónL. Gimeno (2022) Origin of Moisture for the Precipitation Produced by the Exceptional Winter Storm Formed over the Gulf of Mexico in March 1993Atmosphere 13(7), 1154 ; doi: 10.3390/atmos13071154  [pdf]

1. A. Pérez-AlarcónP. Coll-HidalgoJ. C. Fernández-ÁlvarezR. NietoL. Gimeno (2022) Estimation of mean water vapour residence time during tropical cyclones using a Lagrangian approachTropical Cyclone Research and Review 11(2); doi: 10.1016/j.tcrr.2022.08.001  [pdf]