Modeling bio-geophysical feedback in the African and Indian monsoon region
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An asynchronously coupled global atmosphere-biome model is used to assess the dynamics of deserts and drought in the Sahel, Saudi-Arabia and the Indian subcontinent. Under present-day conditions of solar irradiation and sea-surface temperatures, the model finds two solutions: the first solution yields the present-day distribution of vegetation and deserts and the second shows a northward spread of savanna and xerophytic shrub of some 600 km, particularly in the southwest Sahara. Comparison of atmospheric states associated with these solutions corroborates Charney’s theory of a self-induction of deserts through albedo enhancement in the Sahel. Over the Indian subcontinent, changes in vegetation are mainly caused by a positive feedback between increased soil moisture and stronger summer monsoon.
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