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An investigation of QBO signals in the east Asian and Indian monsoon in GCM experiments

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 Observations have shown that the monsoon is a highly variable phenomenon of the tropical troposphere, which exhibits significant variance in the temporal range of two to three years. The reason for this specific interannual variability has not yet been identified unequivocally. Observational analyses have also shown that EI Niño indices or western Pacific SSTs exhibit some power in the two to three year period range and therefore it was suggested that an ocean-atmosphere interaction could excite and support such a cycle. Similar mechanisms include land-surface-atmosphere interaction as a possible driving mechanism. A rather different explanation could be provided by a forcing mechanism based on the quasi-biennial oscillation of the zonal wind in the lower equatorial stratosphere (QBO). The QBO is a phenomenon driven by equatorial waves with periods of some days which are excited in the troposphere. Provided that the monsoon circulation reacts to the modulation of tropopause conditions as forced by the QBO, this could explain monsoon variability in the quasi-biennial window. The possibility of a QBO-driven monsoon variability is investigated in this study in a number of general circulation model experiments where the QBO is assimilated to externally controlled phase states. These experiments show that the boreal summer monsoon is significantly influenced by the QBO. A QBO westerly phase implies less precipitation in the western Pacific, but more in India, in agreement with observations. The austral summer monsoon is exposed to similar but weaker mechanisms and the precipitation does not change significantly.

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Received: 28 July 1998 / Accepted: 24 December 1998

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Giorgetta, M., Bengtsson, L. & Arpe, K. An investigation of QBO signals in the east Asian and Indian monsoon in GCM experiments. Climate Dynamics 15, 435–450 (1999).

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