Climate Variability in a Coupled GCM. Part II: The Indian Ocean and Monsoon

M. Latif Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

Search for other papers by M. Latif in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
A. Sterl Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

Search for other papers by A. Sterl in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
M. Assenbaum Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

Search for other papers by M. Assenbaum in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
M. M. Junge Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

Search for other papers by M. M. Junge in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
E. Maier-Reimer Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

Search for other papers by E. Maier-Reimer in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Full access

Abstract

We have investigated the seasonal cycle and the interannual variability of the tropical Indian Ocean circulation and the Indian summer monsoon simulated by a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model in a 26- year integration. Although the model exhibits significant climate drift, overall, the coupled GCM simulates realistically the seasonal changes in the tropical Indian Ocean and the onset and evolution of the Indian summer monsoon. The amplitudes of the seasonal changes, however, are underestimated.

The coupled GCM also simulates considerable interannual variability in the tropical Indian Ocean circulation, which is partly related to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomenon and the associated changes in the Walker circulation. Changes in the surface wind stress appear to be crucial in forcing interannual variations in the Indian Ocean SST. As in the Pacific Ocean, the net surface beat flux acts as a negative feedback on the SST anomalies.

The interannual variability in monsoon rainfall, simulated by the coupled GCM, is only about half as strong as observed. The reason for this is that the simulated interannual variability in the Indian monsoon appears to be related to internal processes within the atmosphere only. In contrast, an investigation based on observations shows a clear lead-lag relationship between interannual variations in the monsoon rainfall and tropical Pacific SST anomalies. Furthermore, the atmospheric GCM also fails to reproduce this lead-lag relationship between monsoon rainfall and tropical Pacific SST when run in a stand-alone integration with observed SSTs prescribed during the period 1970–1988. These results indicate that important physical processes relating tropical Pacific SST to Indian monsoon rainfall are not adequately modeled in our atmospheric GCM. Monsoon rainfall predictions appear therefore premature.

Abstract

We have investigated the seasonal cycle and the interannual variability of the tropical Indian Ocean circulation and the Indian summer monsoon simulated by a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model in a 26- year integration. Although the model exhibits significant climate drift, overall, the coupled GCM simulates realistically the seasonal changes in the tropical Indian Ocean and the onset and evolution of the Indian summer monsoon. The amplitudes of the seasonal changes, however, are underestimated.

The coupled GCM also simulates considerable interannual variability in the tropical Indian Ocean circulation, which is partly related to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomenon and the associated changes in the Walker circulation. Changes in the surface wind stress appear to be crucial in forcing interannual variations in the Indian Ocean SST. As in the Pacific Ocean, the net surface beat flux acts as a negative feedback on the SST anomalies.

The interannual variability in monsoon rainfall, simulated by the coupled GCM, is only about half as strong as observed. The reason for this is that the simulated interannual variability in the Indian monsoon appears to be related to internal processes within the atmosphere only. In contrast, an investigation based on observations shows a clear lead-lag relationship between interannual variations in the monsoon rainfall and tropical Pacific SST anomalies. Furthermore, the atmospheric GCM also fails to reproduce this lead-lag relationship between monsoon rainfall and tropical Pacific SST when run in a stand-alone integration with observed SSTs prescribed during the period 1970–1988. These results indicate that important physical processes relating tropical Pacific SST to Indian monsoon rainfall are not adequately modeled in our atmospheric GCM. Monsoon rainfall predictions appear therefore premature.

Save