3D.4 Poleward Shift and Weakening of Summer Season Synoptic Activity over India in a Warming Climate

Monday, 16 April 2018: 2:15 PM
Heritage Ballroom (Sawgrass Marriott)
Ajaya Mohan Ravindran, New York Univ., Abu Dhabi, UAE; and S. Sukumaran, W. Boos, T. P. Sabin, and V. Praveen

One of the main components of the Indian summer monsoon is the presence of low intensity cyclonic systems popularly known as Low Pressure Systems (LPS), which contribute more than half of the precipitation received over the fertile Central Indian region. An average of 13 (±2.5) storms develop each boreal summer, with most originating over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and adjoining land. These systems typically follow a north-west track along the monsoon trough. Despite its significance, the future variability of these storms is not studied, due to the inadequate representation of these systems in current generation climate models. A series of numerical experiments are performed here using the High Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM) with a horizontal grid spacing of 50 km globally to simulate these rain-bearing systems. One set of simulations represents the historical (HIST) period and the other a late 21st century climate scenario based on the strongest Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP8.5). Four ensemble members of these simulations are run, with sea surface temperatures (SSTs) taken from different CMIP5 GCMs selected for their skill in simulating the Indian monsoon. In addition, ten ensemble members of ‘decadal’ experiments are run for both HIST and RCP8.5 to assess model uncertainty, in which the model is forced with annual cycles of decadal mean SSTs (see Methods for details). We show that the strength of monsoon LPS activity would decline as much as 50% by the end of the 21st century, under business as usual emission scenario. The overall reduction in the LPS activity is contributed by a ~60% decrease in the frequency of storms over the Bay of Bengal, while the weaker systems that form over the land has increased 10% in a warmer climate. Further analysis suggests that a relatively slower rate of warming over the Bay of Bengal compared to the surrounding regions has resulted in an enhanced moist stability over the main genesis region of LPS, which in turn suppressed the growth of these storms in a warmer climate. The change in extreme precipitation may be mentioned as a consequence of ocean-to-land shift in LPS activity.
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