Climate models show considerable rainfall biases in coastal tropical areas, where approximately 33% of the overall rainfall received is associated with coastal land-sea interaction. Building on an algorithm to objectively identify rainfall that is associated with land-sea interaction we investigate whether the relationship between rainfall in coastal regions and atmospheric humidity differs from that over the open ocean or over inland areas. We combine 3-hourly satellite estimates of rainfall with humidity estimates from reanalyses and investigate if coastal rainfall reveals the well-known relationship between area-averaged precipitation and column-integrated moisture. We find that rainfall that is associated with coastal land-sea effects occurs under much drier midtropospheric conditions than that over the ocean and does not exhibit a pronounced critical value of humidity. In addition, the dependence of the amount of rainfall on midtropospheric moisture is significantly weaker when the rainfall is coastally influenced.
- tropical convection
- tropical rainfall