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A statistically predictive model for future monsoon failure in India

  • Indian monsoon rainfall is vital for a large share of the world's population. Both reliably projecting India's future precipitation and unraveling abrupt cessations of monsoon rainfall found in paleorecords require improved understanding of its stability properties. While details of monsoon circulations and the associated rainfall are complex, full-season failure is dominated by large-scale positive feedbacks within the region. Here we find that in a comprehensive climate model, monsoon failure is possible but very rare under pre-industrial conditions, while under future warming it becomes much more frequent. We identify the fundamental intraseasonal feedbacks that are responsible for monsoon failure in the climate model, relate these to observational data, and build a statistically predictive model for such failure. This model provides a simple dynamical explanation for future changes in the frequency distribution of seasonal mean all-Indian rainfall. Forced only by global mean temperature and the strength of the Pacific WalkerIndian monsoon rainfall is vital for a large share of the world's population. Both reliably projecting India's future precipitation and unraveling abrupt cessations of monsoon rainfall found in paleorecords require improved understanding of its stability properties. While details of monsoon circulations and the associated rainfall are complex, full-season failure is dominated by large-scale positive feedbacks within the region. Here we find that in a comprehensive climate model, monsoon failure is possible but very rare under pre-industrial conditions, while under future warming it becomes much more frequent. We identify the fundamental intraseasonal feedbacks that are responsible for monsoon failure in the climate model, relate these to observational data, and build a statistically predictive model for such failure. This model provides a simple dynamical explanation for future changes in the frequency distribution of seasonal mean all-Indian rainfall. Forced only by global mean temperature and the strength of the Pacific Walker circulation in spring, it reproduces the trend as well as the multidecadal variability in the mean and skewness of the distribution, as found in the climate model. The approach offers an alternative perspective on large-scale monsoon variability as the result of internal instabilities modulated by pre-seasonal ambient climate conditions.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Jacob Schewe, Anders LevermannORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044023
ISSN:1748-9326 (print)
Parent Title (English):Environmental research letters
Publisher:IOP Publ. Ltd.
Place of publication:Bristol
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2012
Year of Completion:2012
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:climate change; coupled climate model; monsoon failure; non-linear dynamics; stochastic model
Volume:7
Issue:4
Pagenumber:9
Funder:Heinrich Boll Foundation; German National Academic Foundation; BMBF PROGRESS project [03IS2191B]; German Earth System Research Partnership Program ENIGMA
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Physik und Astronomie
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access