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Sub-seasonal behaviour of Asian summer monsoon under a changing climate: assessments using CMIP5 models

Sooraj, KP and Terray, P and Xavier, P (2016) Sub-seasonal behaviour of Asian summer monsoon under a changing climate: assessments using CMIP5 models. Climate Dynamics, 46 (11). pp. 4003-4025.

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Numerous global warming studies show the anticipated increase in mean precipitation with the rising levels of carbon dioxide concentration. However, apart from the changes in mean precipitation, the finer details of daily precipitation distribution, such as its intensity and frequency (so called daily rainfall extremes), need to be accounted for while determining the impacts of climate changes in future precipitation regimes. Here we examine the climate model projections from a large set of Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project 5 models, to assess these future aspects of rainfall distribution over Asian summer monsoon (ASM) region. Our assessment unravels a north–south rainfall dipole pattern, with increased rainfall over Indian subcontinent extending into the western Pacific region (north ASM region, NASM) and decreased rainfall over equatorial oceanic convergence zone over eastern Indian Ocean region (south ASM region, SASM). This robust future pattern is well conspicuous at both seasonal and sub-seasonal time scales. Subsequent analysis, using daily rainfall events defined using percentile thresholds, demonstrates that mean rainfall changes over NASM region are mainly associated with more intense and more frequent extreme rainfall events (i.e. above 95th percentile). The inference is that there are significant future changes in rainfall probability distributions and not only a uniform shift in the mean rainfall over the NASM region. Rainfall suppression over SASM seems to be associated with changes involving multiple rainfall events and shows a larger model spread, thus making its interpretation more complex compared to NASM. Moisture budget diagnostics generally show that the low-level moisture convergence, due to stronger increase of water vapour in the atmosphere, acts positively to future rainfall changes, especially for heaviest rainfall events. However, it seems that the dynamic component of moisture convergence, associated with vertical motion, shows a strong spatial and rainfall category dependency, sometimes offsetting the effect of the water vapour increase. Additionally, we found that the moisture convergence is mainly dominated by the climatological vertical motion acting on the humidity changes and the interplay between all these processes proves to play a pivotal role for regulating the intensities of various rainfall events in the two domains.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer International Publishing
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology
Depositing User: IITM Library
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2017 05:41
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2017 05:41

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