Intraseasonal Variability of the South Asian Summer Monsoon: Present-day Simulations with the Regional Atmospheric Model HIRHAM5

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Franziska Stefanie Hanf, Annette Rinke and Klaus Dethloff, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
Since 1950, observations show a robust negative trend of the seasonal rainfall associated with the South Asian summer monsoon over India coinciding with a continuous decrease in surface solar radiation (“dimming”) over South Asia due to an increase of local aerosol emissions. On the intraseasonal timescale the summer monsoon fluctuates between periods of enhanced and reduced rainfall. The frequency of occurrence of these active and breaks monsoon phases affects directly the seasonal monsoon rainfall.

This study investigates the regional pattern and changes of the South Asian monsoon for the period 1979-2012 using the regional atmospheric model HIRHAM5 with a horizontal resolution of 0.25° forced at the lateral and lower boundaries with ERA-Interim reanalysis data. Despite the dry bias in the mean summer monsoon rainfall over the Indian landmass, the simulated temperature and atmospheric circulation patterns are in agreement with the ERA-Interim reanalysis indicating a realistic representation of important dynamical summer monsoon features. In addition, mechanisms which controls active and break phases within the summer monsoon season are analyzed using daily outgoing longwave radiation model data as an identification tool of monsoon breaks as proposed by Krishnan et al. (2000). Model results reveal an increasing trend of the cumulative monsoon break days of around 1.4 days per year during the last 30 years. The possible link between this increasing of cumulative monsoon break days and the observed decrease of seasonal South Asian monsoon rainfall will be the scope of further investigations.