Advertisement

Climate Dynamics

, Volume 41, Issue 9–10, pp 2497–2509 | Cite as

The role of land-surface processes in modulating the Indian monsoon annual cycle

  • Massimo A. BollasinaEmail author
  • Yi Ming
Article

Abstract

The annual cycle of solar radiation, together with the resulting land–ocean differential heating, is traditionally considered the dominant forcing controlling the northward progression of the Indian monsoon. This study makes use of a state-of-the-art atmospheric general circulation model in a realistic configuration to conduct “perpetual” experiments aimed at providing new insights into the role of land–atmosphere processes in modulating the annual cycle of precipitation over India. The simulations are carried out at three important stages of the monsoon cycle: March, May, and July. Insolation and SSTs are held fixed at their respective monthly mean values, thus eliminating any external seasonal forcing. In the perpetual May experiment both precipitation and circulation are able to considerably evolve only by regional internal land–atmosphere processes and the mediation of soil hydrology. A large-scale equilibrium state is reached after approximately 270 days, closely resembling mid-summer climatological conditions. As a result, despite the absence of external forcing, intense and widespread rains over India are able to develop in the May-like state. The interaction between soil moisture and circulation, modulated by surface heating over the northwestern semi-arid areas, determines a slow northwestward migration of the monsoon, a crucial feature for the existence of desert regions to the west. This also implies that the land–atmosphere system in May is far from being in equilibrium with the external forcing. The inland migration of the precipitation front comprises a succession of large-scale 35–50 day coupled oscillations between soil moisture, precipitation, and circulation. The oscillatory regime is self-sustained and entirely due to the internal dynamics of the system. In contrast to the May case, minor changes in the land–atmosphere system are found when the model is initialized in March and, more surprisingly, in July, the latter case further emphasizing the role of northwestern surface heating.

Keywords

Indian monsoon annual cycle Land–atmosphere interactions Perpetual experiments 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Kirsten Findell and Ron J. Stouffer for reviewing an earlier version of the manuscript, as well as two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments which helped to improve the manuscript. We also thank Chris Golaz for providing the data of the AM3 simulation with climatological SST.

References

  1. Abbot DS, Emanuel KA (2007) A tropical and subtropical land-sea-atmosphere drought oscillation mechanism. J Atmos Sci 64:4458–4466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Annamalai H, Slingo JM (2001) Active/break cycles: diagnosis of the intraseasonal variability of the Asian summer monsoon. Clim Dyn 18:85–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Biasutti M, Battisti DS, Sarachik ES (2003) The annual cycle over the tropical Atlantic, South America, and Africa. J Clim 16:2491–2508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bollasina M, Nigam S (2011a) The summertime “heat” low over Pakistan/northwestern India: evolution and origin. Clim Dyn 37:957–970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bollasina M, Nigam S (2011b) Modeling of regional hydroclimate change over the Indian subcontinent: impact of the expanding Thar desert. J Clim 24:3089–3106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Donner LJ et al (2011) The dynamical core, physical parameterizations, and basic simulation characteristics of the atmospheric component AM3 of the GFDL Global Coupled Model CM3. J Clim 24:3484–3519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferranti L, Slingo JM, Palmer TN, Hoskins BJ (1999) The effect of land-surface feedbacks on the monsoon circulation. QJR Meteorol Soc 125:1527–1550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Futami M, Ohba M, Ueda H (2009) Role of soil Moisture in the seasonal progress of the Asian summer monsoon. Tsukuba Geoenviron Sci 5:3–9Google Scholar
  9. Goswami BN (1998) Interannual variation of Indian summer monsoon in a GCM: external conditions versus internal feedbacks. J Clim 11:501–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goswami BN (2005) South Asian summer monsoon: an overview. In: Chang C-P, Wang B, Lau N-CG (eds) The global monsoon system: research and forecast, WMO/TD No. 1266 (TMRP Report No. 70), pp 47–71Google Scholar
  11. Goswami BN, Wu G, Yasunari T (2006) The annual cycle, intraseasonal oscillations, and roadblock to seasonal predictability of the Asian summer monsoon. J Clim 19:5078–5099CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hagos SM, Cook KH (2005) Influence of surface processes over Africa on the Atlantic marine ITCZ and South American precipitation. J Clim 18:4993–5010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jiang X, Li J (2011) Influence of the annual cycle of sea surface temperature on the monsoon onset. J Geophys Res 116:D10105. doi: 10.1029/2010JD015236 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kang IS et al (2002) Intercomparison of the climatological variations of Asian summer monsoon precipitation simulated by 10 GCMs. Clim Dyn 19:383–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kirtman B, Vecchi GA (2011) Why climate modelers should worry about atmospheric and oceanic weather. In: Chang C-P, Ding Y, Lau N-C, Johnson RH, Wang B, Yasunari T (eds) The global monsoon system: research and forecast, 2nd edn. World Scientific Series on Asia-Pacific Weather and Climate, vol. 5, World Scientific Publication Company, 608 pp, 511–524Google Scholar
  16. Koster RD et al (2004) Regions of strong coupling between soil moisture and precipitation. Science 305:1138–1140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kripalani RH, Oh JH, Kulkarni A, Sabade SS, Chaudhari HS (2007) South Asian summer monsoon precipitation variability: coupled climate simulations and projections under IPCC AR4. Theor Appl Clim 90:133–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lau NC, Nath MJ (2012) A model study of the air–sea interaction associated with the climatological aspects and interannual variability of the south Asian summer monsoon development. J Clim 25:839–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lestari RK, Iwasaki T (2006) GCM study on the roles of the seasonal marches of the SST and land-sea thermal contrast in the onset of the Asian summer monsoon. J Meteor Soc Jpn 84:69–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mapes BE, Liu P, Buenning N (2005) Indian monsoon onset and the Americas midsummer drought: out-of-equilibrium responses to smooth seasonal forcing. J Clim 18:1109–1115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meehl GA (1994) Influence of the land surface in the Asian summer monsoon: external conditions versus internal feedbacks. J Clim 7:1033–1049CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meehl GA, Arblaster JM, Lawrence DM, Seth A, Schneider EK, Kirtman BP, Min D (2006) Monsoon regimes in the CCSM3. J Clim 19:2482–2495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rayner NA, Parker DE, Horton EB, Folland CK, Alexander LV, Rowell DP, Kent EC, Kaplan A (2003) Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century. J Geophys Res 108:4407. doi: 10.1029/2002JD002670 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Saha SK, Halder S, Krishna Kumar K, Goswami BN (2011) Pre-onset land surface processes and ‘internal’ interannual variabilities of the Indian summer monsoon. Clim Dyn 36:2011–2089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shukla J, Fennessy MJ (1994) Simulation and predictability of monsoons. In Proceedings of MONEG international conference on Monsoon variability and prediction Trieste, Italy, WMO/TD-No. 619, 567–575Google Scholar
  26. Srinivasan J, Gadgil S, Webster PJ (1993) Meridional propagation of large-scale monsoon convective zones. Meteor Atmos Phys 52:15–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sud YC, Walker GK, Mehta VM, Lau WKM (2002) Relative importance of the annual cycles of sea surface temperature and solar irradiance for tropical circulation and precipitation: a climate model simulation study. Earth Interact 6:1–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Suhas E, Neena JM, Goswami BN (2012) Interannual variability of Indian summer monsoon arising from interactions between seasonal mean and intraseasonal oscillations. J Atmos Sci. doi: 10.1175/JAS-D-11-0211.1 Google Scholar
  29. Ueda H (2005) Air-sea coupled process involved in stepwise seasonal evolution of the Asian summer monsoon. Geog Rev Jpn 86:825–841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ueda H, Ohba M, Xie SP (2009) Important factors for the development of the Asian-Northwest Pacific summer monsoon. J Clim 22:649–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Uppala SM et al (2005) The ERA40 reanalysis. Q J R Met Soc 131:2961–3012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wang B, Clemens S, Liu P (2003) Contrasting the Indian and East Asian monsoons: implications on geologic time scale. Mar Geol 201:5–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Webster PJ (1983) Mechanisms of monsoon transition: surface hydrology effects. J Atmos Sci 40:2110–2124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Webster PJ, Magaña VO, Palmer TN, Shukla J, Tomas RA, Yanai M, Yasunari T (1998) Monsoons: processes, predictability, and the prospects for prediction. J Geophys Res 103:14451–14510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wu R, Wang B (2001) Multi-stage onset of summer monsoon over the western North Pacific. Clim Dyn 17:277–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Xie P, Arkin PA (1997) Global precipitation: a 17-year monthly analysis based on gauge observations, satellite estimates, and numerical model outputs. Bull Am Meteor Soc 78:2539–2558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xie S-P, Saiki N (1999) Abrupt onset and slow seasonal evolution of summer monsoon in an idealized GCM simulation. J Meteor Soc Jpn 77:949–968Google Scholar
  38. Xie SP, Xu H, Saji NH, Wang Y, Liu WT (2006) Role of narrow mountains in large-scale organization of Asian monsoon convection. J Clim 19:3420–3429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yang S, Lau KM (2006) Interannual variability of the Asian monsoon. In: Wang B (ed) Asian monsoon. Springer, Praxis, pp 259–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yasunari T (2007) Role of land-atmosphere interaction on Asian monsoon climate. J Met Soc Jpn 85B:55–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zwiers FW, Boer GJ (1987) A comparison of climates simulated by a general circulation model when run in the annual cycle and perpetual modes. Mon Wea Rev 115:2626–2644CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory/NOAAPrincetonUSA

Personalised recommendations