Climate Dynamics

, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 449–466

Sensitivity of the Asian summer monsoon to an anomalous Eurasian snow cover within the Météo-France GCM


  • H. Douville
    • Météo-France/CNRM
  • J. -F. Royer
    • Météo-France/CNRM

DOI: 10.1007/BF02346818

Cite this article as:
Douville, H. & Royer, J.-. Climate Dynamics (1996) 12: 449. doi:10.1007/BF02346818


Both observational and numerical studies suggest that the Eurasian winter snow cover has a strong influence on the subsequent summer monsoon in Asia. An updated version of the ARPEGE climate model of Meteo-France, including a simple but physically-based snow parameterization, is used to test the impact of an increased snow mass prescribed at the beginning of March on the simulated summer monsoon circulation and rainfall. The large-scale features of the Asian monsoon are reproduced in a realistic way in the control integration, which is a necessary premise of such a sensitivity test. In the heavy snow cover experiment, the anomalous persistence of the winter snow pack delays the springtime continental heating. This weakens the thermal low over northern India and Persia as well as the southwesterly winds over the monsoon area. There is also a significant decrease in the rainfall over western India and Bengal-Burma, which usually represent the centers of maximum precipitation. Radiative, turbulence transfer and hydrological processes seem to be involved in the snow-monsoon relationship. The changes in the monsoon precipitation are strongly related to changes in the atmospheric circulation and are not reinforced by a local evaporation/convection feedback in our experiment.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996