, Volume 28, Issue 2-3, pp 273-290

Sensitivity of the Asian summer monsoon to the horizontal resolution: differences between AMIP-type and coupled model experiments

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A set of experiments forced with observed SST has been performed with the Echam4 atmospheric GCM at three different horizontal resolutions (T30, T42 and T106). These experiments have been used to study the sensitivity of the simulated Asian summer monsoon (ASM) to the horizontal resolution. The ASM is reasonably well simulated by the Echam4 model at all resolutions. In particular, the low-level westerly flow, that is the dominant manifestation of the Asian summer monsoon, is well captured by the model, and the precipitation is reasonably simulated in intensity and space appearance. The main improvements due to an higher resolution model are associated to regional aspects of the precipitation, for example the Western Ghats precipitation is better reproduced. The interannual variability of precipitation and wind fields in the Asian monsoon region appears to be less affected by an increase in the horizontal resolution than the mean climatology is. A possible reason is that the former is mainly SST-forced. Besides, the availability of experiments at different horizontal resolution realized with the Echam4 model coupled to a global oceanic model allows the possibility to compare these simulations with the experiments previously described. This analysis showed that the coupled model is able to reproduce a realistic monsoon, as the basic dynamics of the phenomenon is captured. The increase of the horizontal resolution of the atmospheric component influences the simulated monsoon with the same characteristics of the forced experiments. Some basic features of the Asian summer monsoon, as the interannual variability and the connection with ENSO, are further investigated.