Mechanisms for projected future changes in south Asian monsoon precipitation

G. A. Meehl, J. M. Arblaster

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Results are first presented from an analysis of a global coupled climate model regarding changes in future mean and variability of south Asian monsoon precipitation due to increased atmospheric CO2 for doubled (2 × CO2) and quadrupled (4 × CO2) present-day amounts. Results from the coupled model show that, in agreement with previous studies, mean area-averaged south Asian monsoon precipitation increases with greater CO2 concentrations, as does the interannual variability. Mechanisms producing these changes are then examined in a series of AMIP2-style sensitivity experiments using the atmospheric model (taken from the coupled model) run with specified SSTs. Three sets of ensemble experiments are run with SST anomalies superimposed on the AMIP2 SSTs from 1979-97: (1) anomalously warm Indian Ocean SSTs, (2) anomalously warm Pacific Ocean SSTs, and (3) anomalously warm Indian and Pacific Ocean SSTs. Results from these experiments show that the greater mean monsoon precipitation is due to increased moisture source from the , warmer Indian Ocean. Increased south Asian monsoon interannual variability is primarily due to warmer Pacific Ocean SSTs with enhanced evaporation variability, with the warmer Indian Ocean SSTs a contributing but secondary factor. That is, for a given interannual tropical Pacific SST fluctuation with warmer mean SSTs in the future climate, there is enhanced evaporation and precipitation variability that is communicated via the Walker Circulation in the atmosphere to the south Asian monsoon to increase interannual precipitation variability there. This enhanced monsoon variability occurs even with no change in interannual SST variability in the tropical Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-675
Number of pages17
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

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