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Indian Monsoon Onset and the Americas Midsummer Drought: Out-of-Equilibrium Responses to Smooth Seasonal Forcing

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  • 1 NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • | 3 NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Two dominant high-frequency features of Northern Hemisphere summer climatology are examined in an atmosphere–land general circulation model (AGCM): the sudden onset of rains in south Asia, and the midsummer rainfall minimum in the tropical Americas. A control simulation succeeds in capturing these observed features fairly well. A slowed-calendar experiment is performed, to see whether these features are close to equilibrium with seasonally evolving forcings (orbital geometry and SST). The results indicate that some lag (disequilbrium) within the AGCM delays south Asian onset by about a month, from May in the experiment when seasonal forcing evolves extremely slowly to June in the normal, full-speed seasonal cycle. Disequilibrium also acts to delay and limit the amplitude of the Americas midsummer drought, and the associated intrusion of the Atlantic subtropical high into the Intra-Americas Seas’ region. It is hypothesized that early summer (centered on the solstice) temperature over mid- and high-latitude continents, which differs greatly between experiment and control, drives the low-latitude rainfall differences. A more mysterious pole-to-pole, annual-mean, zonal wave-1 difference is also found in the slowed-calendar experiment.

Corresponding author address: Brian Mapes, RSMAS, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149. Email: bmapes@rsmas.miami.edu

Abstract

Two dominant high-frequency features of Northern Hemisphere summer climatology are examined in an atmosphere–land general circulation model (AGCM): the sudden onset of rains in south Asia, and the midsummer rainfall minimum in the tropical Americas. A control simulation succeeds in capturing these observed features fairly well. A slowed-calendar experiment is performed, to see whether these features are close to equilibrium with seasonally evolving forcings (orbital geometry and SST). The results indicate that some lag (disequilbrium) within the AGCM delays south Asian onset by about a month, from May in the experiment when seasonal forcing evolves extremely slowly to June in the normal, full-speed seasonal cycle. Disequilibrium also acts to delay and limit the amplitude of the Americas midsummer drought, and the associated intrusion of the Atlantic subtropical high into the Intra-Americas Seas’ region. It is hypothesized that early summer (centered on the solstice) temperature over mid- and high-latitude continents, which differs greatly between experiment and control, drives the low-latitude rainfall differences. A more mysterious pole-to-pole, annual-mean, zonal wave-1 difference is also found in the slowed-calendar experiment.

Corresponding author address: Brian Mapes, RSMAS, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149. Email: bmapes@rsmas.miami.edu

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