A Comparison between Observed and GCM-Simulated Summer Monsoon Characteristics over China

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  • 1 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York
  • | 2 Department of Geosciences, Beijing University, Beijing, China
  • | 3 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York
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Abstract

Observed rainfall over China and sea level pressure over Eurasia, two parameters that are closely associated with the east Asian summer monsoon, are compared with those simulated in a general circulation model (GCM). Observations are for the period 1951–1990 and include two datasets: a 160-station rainfall archive for China and a gridded sea level pressure record for Eurasia. The GCM dataset contains output from a 40-yr simulation with a mixed-layer ocean and greenhouse gas concentrations prescribed at 1990 levels.

In both observations and the model simulation, empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis identifies two rainfall regions, the Yangtze River valley and southeast China, where interannual variability is large but relatively homogeneous. The locations of the model regions, however, are systematically shifted several degrees to the west. For each observed and model region, area-averaged summer rainfall anomalies are used to develop a 40-yr intensity index time series. Correlations between the regional indices and sea level pressure indicate that intensity values are influenced by the interaction of several circulation features. Observed rainfall intensifies over the Yangtze River valley when interactions between the Siberian high, subtropical high, and monsoon low cause the temperature gradient across the Mei-Yu front to increase. These interactions are accurately reproduced in the model simulation. Observed intensity over southeast China increases when the monsoon low moves to the north while GCM rainfall intensifies when the monsoon low deepens over southeast China and sea level pressure increases over the Tibetan Plateau.

Abstract

Observed rainfall over China and sea level pressure over Eurasia, two parameters that are closely associated with the east Asian summer monsoon, are compared with those simulated in a general circulation model (GCM). Observations are for the period 1951–1990 and include two datasets: a 160-station rainfall archive for China and a gridded sea level pressure record for Eurasia. The GCM dataset contains output from a 40-yr simulation with a mixed-layer ocean and greenhouse gas concentrations prescribed at 1990 levels.

In both observations and the model simulation, empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis identifies two rainfall regions, the Yangtze River valley and southeast China, where interannual variability is large but relatively homogeneous. The locations of the model regions, however, are systematically shifted several degrees to the west. For each observed and model region, area-averaged summer rainfall anomalies are used to develop a 40-yr intensity index time series. Correlations between the regional indices and sea level pressure indicate that intensity values are influenced by the interaction of several circulation features. Observed rainfall intensifies over the Yangtze River valley when interactions between the Siberian high, subtropical high, and monsoon low cause the temperature gradient across the Mei-Yu front to increase. These interactions are accurately reproduced in the model simulation. Observed intensity over southeast China increases when the monsoon low moves to the north while GCM rainfall intensifies when the monsoon low deepens over southeast China and sea level pressure increases over the Tibetan Plateau.

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