Hans Segura

Research video: Understanding precipitation in the tropics

14. June 2024

Rainfall patterns around the tropics, the regions encircling the Earth’s equator, are crucial for understanding global water and energy cycles. These tropical rain belts migrate seasonally, following the sun’s path north and south. Scientists have long struggled to accurately model these complex dynamics using traditional climate models.

The study, „Learning by Doing: Seasonal and Diurnal Features of Tropical Precipitation in a Global-Coupled Storm-Resolving Model“ by Hans Segura and colleagues, offers a breakthrough. Their research utilizes the new generation of high-resolution simulations that nextGEMS is developing, which incorporate both atmospheric and oceanic interactions. This level of detail allows for the explicit representation of convection (the process by which warm, moist air rises and cools, forming clouds and precipitation) and mesoscale ocean eddies (large, swirling currents).

In this research video, produced by Latest Thinking, researcher Hans Segura highlights the promising results. On one hand, the simulations accurately capture the seasonal migration of the rainbelt over land, including its movement north and south, east and west, and expansion during summer. This is particularly true for the eastern Pacific and Atlantic regions. However, Segura clarifies that the model struggles to replicate these patterns over the Eastern Hemisphere’s oceans. The researchers suggest this discrepancy might be due to limitations in representing sea surface temperature patterns in these areas. In that sense, Segura points out that the model needs to be further developed, in addition to theoretical work and observations to understand the mechanisms influencing sea surface temperature.

Hans Segura is currently pursuing post doctoral research in the Climate Physics department of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Previously, he completed his doctorate at Université Grenoble Alpes  and conducted research at the Geophysics Institute of Peru. His research interests include precipitation-convection, clouds, and tropical climatology. 

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