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Atmospheric processes sustaining a multidecadal variation in reconstructed and model-simulated Indian monsoon precipitation during the past half millennium

Qianru Wu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Analyses of recently reconstructed and model-simulated Indian May-September precipitation disclose a statistically significant multidecadal variation at the frequency of 40-50 year per cycle during the last half millennium. To understand the mechanism of this variation, we examined the energy and dynamic processes in the atmosphere, and the potential forcings from the sea surface temperature (SST) variations around the globe. ^ Comparisons of paleo-SST and the paleo-precipitation simulations suggest that the SST is not a significant forcing of the multidecadal variation found in the Indian monsoon precipitation. Instead, analyses suggest that atmospheric processes characterized by phase differences between the meridional enthalpy gradient and poleward eddy enthalpy transport are important to sustain this variation. In this phase relationship, the meridional enthalpy gradient is strengthened by radiative loss in high latitudes. Driven by this enlarged gradient and associated changes in baroclinicity in the mid-latitude atmosphere, more energy is generated in the tropical and subtropical (monsoon) regions and transported poleward. The monsoon is strengthened to allow more energy being transported poleward. The increased enthalpy transport, in turn, weakens the meridional enthalpy gradient and, subsequently, softens the demand for energy production in the monsoon region. The monsoon weakens and the transport decreases. The variation in monsoon precipitation lags that in the meridional enthalpy gradient, but leads that in the poleward heat transport. This phase relationship and underlining chasing process by the heat transport to the gradient sustain this variation at the multidecadal timescale. This mechanism suggests that atmospheric circulation processes can contribute to multidecadal timescale variations in the Indian monsoon precipitation.^

Subject Area

Atmospheric sciences

Recommended Citation

Wu, Qianru, "Atmospheric processes sustaining a multidecadal variation in reconstructed and model-simulated Indian monsoon precipitation during the past half millennium" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3718069.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3718069

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