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IPCC global coupled model simulations of the South America monsoon system

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Abstract

This study examines the variability of the South America monsoon system (SAMS) over tropical South America (SA). The onset, end, and total rainfall during the summer monsoon are investigated using precipitation pentad estimates from the global precipitation climatology project (GPCP) 1979–2006. Likewise, the variability of SAMS characteristics is examined in ten Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global coupled climate models in the twentieth century (1981–2000) and in a future scenario of global change (A1B) (2081–2100). It is shown that most IPCC models misrepresent the inter-tropical convergence zone and therefore do not capture the actual annual cycle of precipitation over the Amazon and northwest SA. Most models can correctly represent the spatiotemporal variability of the annual cycle of precipitation in central and eastern Brazil such as the correct phase of dry and wet seasons, onset dates, duration of rainy season and total accumulated precipitation during the summer monsoon for the twentieth century runs. Nevertheless, poor representation of the total monsoonal precipitation over the Amazon and northeast Brazil is observed in a large majority of the models. Overall, MIROC3.2-hires, MIROC3.2-medres and MRI-CGCM3.2.3 show the most realistic representation of SAMS’s characteristics such as onset, duration, total monsoonal precipitation, and its interannual variability. On the other hand, ECHAM5, GFDL-CM2.0 and GFDL-CM2.1 have the least realistic representation of the same characteristics. For the A1B scenario the most coherent feature observed in the IPCC models is a reduction in precipitation over central-eastern Brazil during the summer monsoon, comparatively with the present climate. The IPCC models do not indicate statistically significant changes in SAMS onset and demise dates for the same scenario.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Charles Jones and Dr. Humberto R. Rocha and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for this manuscript. We also thank the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) and the WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling (WGCM) for making available the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset. GPCP data were provided by NOAA. The authors greatly acknowledge the financial support of the following agencies: FAPESP (Proc: 02/09289-9); R. J. Bombardi FAPESP (06/53769-6); L. M. V. Carvalho CNPq (Proc: 482447/2007-9 and 474033/2004-0) and NOAA Office of Global Programs (NOAA NA07OAR4310211).

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Correspondence to Rodrigo J. Bombardi.

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Bombardi, R.J., Carvalho, L.M.V. IPCC global coupled model simulations of the South America monsoon system. Clim Dyn 33, 893–916 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-008-0488-1

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