Our researchaims to clarify the causes and predictability of the variability of the atmospheric water cycle in a climate context, primarily focusing on the interactions between land /vegetation, fire/aerosols, and clouds and rainfall, and connections with the adjacent oceans. We use a wide range of observations to diagnose the dominant mechanisms in the above mentioned issues and to determine their representations and sources of uncertainties in climate models. Our works were cited by articles in Nature, Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Science News, and popular media such as Wall Street Journal, NewsWeek, and CNN Discovery Channel. In addition, We have developed a seasonal prediction system for summer rainfall anomalies over the US Great Plains, now regularly used by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and Texas State Drought Preparedness Council to support water resource planning. We have also developed a prototype seasonal prediction for winter rainfall anomalies over California.