Climate Dynamics

, Volume 44, Issue 9–10, pp 2493–2512 | Cite as

Mid-Holocene global monsoon area and precipitation from PMIP simulations

  • Dabang JiangEmail author
  • Zhiping Tian
  • Xianmei Lang


Towards a better insight into orbital-scale changes in global monsoon, here we examine global monsoon area (GMA) and precipitation (GMP) as well as GMP intensity (GMPI) in the mid-Holocene, approximately 6,000 years ago, using all available numerical experiments from the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project. Compared to the reference period, both the mid-Holocene GMA and GMP increased in the majority of the 35 models chosen for analysis according to their ability, averaging 5.5 and 4.2 %, respectively, which were mainly due to the increase in monsoon area and precipitation over the boreal land and austral ocean. The mid-Holocene GMPI decreased in most models and by an average of 1.2 %, mainly due to the decrease in monsoon precipitation intensity over the boreal ocean and austral land. The mid-Holocene GMA, GMP, and GMPI all showed opposite changes both between the land and ocean in the northern or southern hemisphere and between the boreal and austral land or ocean. Orbital-induced changes in large-scale meridional temperature gradient and land–sea thermal contrast are the underlying mechanisms, and the presence of an interactive ocean has an amplifying effect in the boreal land monsoon areas overall. Qualitatively, the model–data comparison indicates agreement in the boreal land monsoon areas and South America but disagreement in southern Africa and northern Australia.


Mid-Holocene Monsoon area Monsoon precipitation PMIP simulations 



We sincerely thank the three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments which greatly improved the paper. We also thank the climate modelling groups (listed in Table 1) for producing and sharing their model output, and thank GPCP for providing the Version 2.2 data set. This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program (XDB03020602 and XDA05120703) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41222034 and 41175072). The analyses were performed using version 8 January 2013 of the database. More information is available at,, and


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Centre on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisastersNanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST)NanjingChina
  3. 3.International Centre for Climate and Environment Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Climate Change Research CentreChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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