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Warming and drying over the central Himalaya caused by an amplification of local mountain circulation

TitleWarming and drying over the central Himalaya caused by an amplification of local mountain circulation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsNorris J., Carvalho L.MV, Jones C., Cannon F.
Date Published2020/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2397-3722
Accession NumberWOS:000510023800001
Keywordsclimate; era-interim; glaciers; karakoram; mass-balance; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; monsoon convection; nepal; region; simulations; temperature

Climatic changes over the central Himalaya are critical for water resources in downstream regions where hundreds of millions of people live. Warming and drying in this region have both occurred in recent decades, but the associated meteorological factors are difficult to diagnose based on observations from unevenly distributed weather stations, reanalyses, and global climate models that poorly reproduce the orographic diurnal cycle. Here, recent trends in the summer diurnal cycle over the central Himalaya are investigated using a 36-year high-resolution dynamical downscaling. We illustrate contrasting trends over the diurnal cycle of circulation and convection over the Himalaya. In the daytime, warming of the slopes has enhanced anabatic upslope winds. At night, clearer skies have radiatively cooled the slopes, enhancing katabatic downslope winds. The enhanced upslope winds have prevented any drying over the mountains in the daytime, while the enhanced downslope winds are associated with significant nocturnal drying at high elevations. This amplification in the diurnal cycle is critical for projecting the future hydroclimate over the region's complex terrain.

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