Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 90, Issue 3–4, pp 133–159 | Cite as

South Asian summer monsoon precipitation variability: Coupled climate model simulations and projections under IPCC AR4

  • R. H. Kripalani
  • J. H. Oh
  • A. Kulkarni
  • S. S. Sabade
  • H. S. Chaudhari


South Asian summer monsoon precipitation and its variability are examined from the outputs of the coupled climate models assessed as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment. Out of the 22 models examined, 19 are able to capture the maximum rainfall during the summer monsoon period (June through September) with varying amplitude. While two models are unable to reproduce the annual cycle well, one model is unable to simulate the summer monsoon season. The simulated inter-annual variability from the 19 models is examined with respect to the mean precipitation, coefficient of variation, long-term trends and the biennial tendency. The model simulated mean precipitation varies from 500 mm to 900 mm and coefficient of variation from 3 to 13%. While seven models exhibit long-term trends, eight are able to simulate the biennial nature of the monsoon rainfall. Six models, which generate the most realistic 20th century monsoon climate over south Asia, are selected to examine future projections under the doubling CO2 scenario.

Projections reveal a significant increase in mean monsoon precipitation of 8% and a possible extension of the monsoon period based on the multi-model ensemble technique. Extreme excess and deficient monsoons are projected to intensify. The projected increase in precipitation could be attributed to the projected intensification of the heat low over northwest India, the trough of low pressure over the Indo-Gangetic plains, and the land–ocean pressure gradient during the establishment phase of the monsoon. The intensification of these pressure systems could be attributed to the decline in winter/spring snowfall. Furthermore, a decrease of winter snowfall over western Eurasia is also projected along with an increase of winter snowfall over Siberia/eastern Eurasia. This projected dipole snow configuration during winter could imply changes in mid-latitude circulation conducive to subsequent summer monsoon precipitation activity. An increase in precipitable water of 12–16% is projected over major parts of India. A maximum increase of about 20–24% is found over the Arabian Peninsula, adjoining regions of Pakistan, northwest India and Nepal. Although the projected summer monsoon circulation appears to weaken, the projected anomalous flow over the Bay of Bengal (Arabian Sea) will support oceanic moisture convergence towards the southern parts of India and Sri Lanka (northwest India and adjoining regions). The ENSO-Monsoon relationship is also projected to weaken.


Summer Monsoon Monsoon Rainfall Summer Monsoon Rainfall Indian Monsoon Rainfall South Asian Summer Monsoon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. Kripalani
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. H. Oh
    • 1
  • A. Kulkarni
    • 2
  • S. S. Sabade
    • 2
  • H. S. Chaudhari
    • 1
  1. 1.Integrated Climate System Modeling Laboratory, Department of Environmental and Atmospheric SciencesPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Forecasting Research DivisionIndian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia

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