Laifang Li


Subtropical oceans play an integral role in global water balance by acting as a source of moisture for terrestrial climate. The water vapor leaving the subtropical ocean is transported to land where it feeds precipitation. My primary research interest lies in unfolding essential mechanisms through which the water cycle in the subtropical oceans influences terrestrial precipitation. 

Currently, my research at WHOI provides evidence that moisture export in the subtropical North Atlantic modulates interannual-to-interdecadal variation of African monsoon precipitation and rainfall in the North America. The linkage between oceanic and terrestrial water cycles is further strengthened through the coupling between land surface processes and atmospheric circulation. Moreover, sea surface salinity, being strongly affected by the oceanic water cycle, can be used as a practical predictor for changes in terrestrial precipitation.