A new index to describe the tropical Asian summer monsoon

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 4:45 PM
A new index to describe the tropical Asian summer monsoon
309 (Washington State Convention Center)
Zhongfeng Xu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; and C. Fu Sr. and Y. Qian

We define a new monsoon index (MV) as the product of relative vorticity and equivalent potential temperature using the long-term NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. The MV index provides new insights into the intraseasonal and interannual variabilities of the broad-scale tropical Asian summer monsoon (TASM), including the South Asian summer monsoon (SASM) and the South China Sea summer monsoon (SCSSM). On the intraseasonal timescale, the pentad-to-pentad MV index bears a close relationship to the broad-scale rainfall in the TASM regions. Among 29 summers from 1979 to 2007, in 23/27 summers the correlation coefficients are higher than 0.7 in the SASM/SCSSM region. However, in fewer than 9 summers, the correlations between the broad-scale rainfall and the existing circulation indices are higher than 0.7. On the interannual timescale, various existing SASM circulation indices are moderately or well correlated with all-India summer monsoon rainfall, whereas their correlations with broad-scale SASM rainfall are weak. In contrast, the summer mean MV index correlates well with the broad-scale SASM rainfall and all-India summer monsoon rainfall (correlation of 0.73 and 0.65, respectively). In the SCSSM region, the summer mean MV index also bears a close relationship to the SCSSM rainfall, although some discrepancies exist during certain years. The composite strong TASM shows a stronger low-tropospheric low pressure in association with the enhanced westerly winds and moisture transfer, stronger convection, and upper-tropospheric easterly winds, which indicate that the MV index can capture the features of strong and weak TASM.