Western Pacific emergent constraint lowers projected increase in Indian summer monsoon rainfall

TitleWestern Pacific emergent constraint lowers projected increase in Indian summer monsoon rainfall
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLi G., Xie SP, He C., Chen Z.S
JournalNature Climate Change
Date Published2017/10
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1758-678X
Accession NumberWOS:000412007700016
Keywordscirculation; climate-change; el-nino; enso; model; ocean; pattern; south-asia; temperature; variability

The agrarian-based socioeconomic livelihood of densely populated South Asian countries is vulnerable to modest changes in Indian summer monsoon (ISM) rainfall(1-3). How the ISM rainfall will evolve is a question of broad scientific and socioeconomic importance(3-9). In response to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing, climate models commonly project an increase in ISM rainfall(4-9). This wetter ISM projection, however, does not consider large model errors in both the mean state and ocean warming pattern(9-11). Here we identify a relationship between biases in simulated present climate and future ISM projections in a multi-model ensemble: models with excessive present-day precipitation over the tropical western Pacific tend to project a larger increase in ISM rainfall under GHG forcing because of too strong a negative cloud-radiation feedback on sea surface temperature. The excessive negative feedback suppresses the local ocean surface warming, strengthening ISM rainfall projections via atmospheric circulation. We calibrate the ISM rainfall projections using this 'present-future relationship' and observed western Pacific precipitation. The correction reduces by about 50% of the projected rainfall increase over the broad ISM region. Our study identifies an improved simulation of western Pacific convection as a priority for reliable ISM projections.

Short TitleNat. Clim. Chang.
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