, Volume 33, Issue 2-3, pp 215-231
Date: 18 Feb 2009

Variations of Indian and African monsoons induced by insolation changes at 6 and 9.5 kyr BP

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Abstract

This study investigates the role of insolation in controlling the Indian and African monsoon evolutions during the Holocene using coupled ocean-atmosphere simulations of 0, 6, 9.5 kyr BP climates, for which only the variations of Earth’s orbital configuration are considered. The two monsoon systems are enhanced at 6 and 9.5 kyr BP, compared to 0 kyr BP, as a result of the intensified seasonal cycle of insolation in the Northern Hemisphere. The analysis of daily climatologies indicates that even though the length of the “celestial” summer season is shorter at 9.5 kyr BP, the rainy season is longer than at present. Emphasis is put on the impact of the precession on the seasonality, which partly explains why the relative amplification of the Indian and African monsoon varies between 9.5 and 6 kyr BP. Moreover, the changes in snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau play a critical role in reinforcing the 9.5 kyr BP monsoon in India during spring. The results suggest that the teleconnection between convection over India and subsidence over the Mediterranean regions, through the Rodwell and Hoskins mechanism, has an impact on the development of the African monsoon at 9.5 kyr BP.