, Volume 22, Issue 2-3, pp 157-182
Date: 03 Feb 2004

Global monsoons in the mid-Holocene and oceanic feedback

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Abstract

The response of the six major summer monsoon systems (the North American monsoon, the northern Africa monsoon, the Asia monsoon, the northern Australasian monsoon, the South America monsoon and the southern Africa monsoon) to mid-Holocene orbital forcing has been investigated using a coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation model (FOAM), with the focus on the distinct roles of the direct insolation forcing and oceanic feedback. The simulation result is also found to compare well with the NCAR CSM. The direct effects of the change in insolation produce an enhancement of the Northern Hemisphere monsoons and a reduction of the Southern Hemisphere monsoons. Ocean feedbacks produce a further enhancement of the northern Africa monsoon and the North American monsoon. However, ocean feedbacks appear to weaken the Asia monsoon, although the overall effect (direct insolation forcing plus ocean feedback) remains a strengthened monsoon. The impact of ocean feedbacks on the South American and southern African monsoons is relatively small, and therefore these regions, especially the South America, experienced a reduced monsoon regime compared to present. However, there is a strong ocean feedback on the northern Australian monsoon that negates the direct effects of orbital changes and results in a strengthening of austral summer monsoon precipitation in this region. A new synthesis is made for mid-Holocene paleoenvironmental records and is compared with the model simulations. Overall, model simulations produce changes in regional climates that are generally consistent with paleoenvironmental observations.