Submitted as: model description paper 18 Jun 2021

Submitted as: model description paper | 18 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A simple and efficient model for orographic precipitation

Stefan Hergarten1 and Jörg Robl2 Stefan Hergarten and Jörg Robl
  • 1Institut für Geo- und Umweltnaturwissenschaften, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Albertstr. 23B, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
  • 2Department of Geography and Geology, University of Salzburg, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Abstract. The influence of climate on landform evolution has received great interest over the past decades. While many studies aim at determining erosion rates or parameters of erosion models, feedbacks between tectonics, climate and landform evolution have been discussed, but addressed quantitatively only in a few modeling studies. One of the problems in this field is that coupling a large-scale landform evolution model with a general circulation model would dramatically increase the theoretical and numerical complexity. Only a few simple models are available so far that allow a numerical efficient coupling between topography-controlled precipitation and erosion. This paper fills this gap by introducing a quite simple approach involving two vertically integrated moisture components (vapor and cloud water). The interaction between both components is linear and depends on altitude. This model structure is in principle the simplest approach that is able to predict both orographic precipitation at small scales and a large-scale decrease in precipitation over continental areas without introducing additional assumptions. Even in combination with transversal dispersion and height-dependent evapotranspiration, the model is of linear time complexity and increases the computing effort of efficient large-scale landform evolution models only moderately. Even simple numerical experiments applying such a coupled landform evolution model show the strong impact of spatial precipitation gradients on mountain range geometry including steepness and peak elevation, position of the principal drainage divide, and drainage network properties.

Stefan Hergarten and Jörg Robl

Status: open (until 19 Aug 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CEC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-179', Astrid Kerkweg, 09 Jul 2021 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-179', Kyungrock Paik, 18 Jul 2021 reply

Stefan Hergarten and Jörg Robl

Model code and software

A simple model for orographic precipitation: codes and data Stefan Hergarten and Jörg Robl

Stefan Hergarten and Jörg Robl


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Short summary
The influence of climate on landform evolution has received great interest over the past decades. This paper presents a simple model for simulating the influence of topography on precipitation as well as decrease in precipitation over large continental areas. The approach can be included in numerical models of large-scale landform evolution and causes only a moderate increase in the numerical complexity. It opens a door to investigating feedbacks between climate and landform evolution.