Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 163–179

Simulation of Indian summer monsoon rainfall and its intraseasonal variability in the NCAR climate system model


  • Murari Lal
    • Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi 110016, India
  • Gerald A. Meehl
    • National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • Julie M. Arblaster
    • National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s101130000017

Cite this article as:
Lal, M., Meehl, G. & Arblaster, J. Reg Environ Change (2000) 1: 163. doi:10.1007/s101130000017


The broad climatological features associated with the Asian monsoon circulation, including its mean state and intraseasonal and interannual variability over the Indian subcontinent as simulated in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) global coupled climate system model (CSM) in its control reference experiment, are presented in this paper. The CSM reproduces the seasonal cycle as well as basic observed patterns of key climatic parameters reasonably well in spite of some limitations in simulation of the monsoon rainfall. However, while the seasonality in rainfall over the region is simulated well, the simulated area-averaged monsoon rainfall is underestimated to only about 60% of the observed rainfall. The centers of maxima in simulated monsoon rainfall are slightly displaced southward as compared to the climatological patterns. The cross-equatorial flow in simulated surface wind patterns during summer is also stronger than observed with an easterly bias. The transient experiment with a 1% per year compound increase in CO2 with CSM suggests an annual mean area-averaged surface warming of about 1.73 °C over the region at the time of CO2 doubling. This warming is more pronounced in winter than during the monsoon season. A net increase in area-averaged monsoon rainfall of about 1.4 mm day–1, largely due to increased moisture convergence and associated convective activity over the land, is obtained. The enhanced intraseasonal variability in the monsoon rainfall in a warmer atmosphere is confined to the early part of the monsoon season which suggests the possibility of the date of onset of summer monsoon over India becoming more variable in future. The enhanced interannual and intraseasonal variability in the summer monsoon activity over India could also contribute to more intense rainfall spells over the land regions of the Indian subcontinent, thus increasing the probability of extreme rainfall events in a warmer atmosphere.

Global climate model Indian monsoon Intraseasonal variability GHG forcings Regional climate change
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© Springer-Verlag 2000