Thursday, 14 January 2016: 2:00 PM
La Nouvelle C ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Intertropical convergence zones (ITCZs), monsoons and monsoon onset are among the most prominent of atmospheric phenomena. Understanding their origins is fundamental to a full understanding of the atmospheric general circulation and has challenged meteorologists for a very long time. There has been important progress in understanding these phenomena in recent years, and in this presentation, these recent developments are reviewed. First, contrary to the conventional belief, land-sea thermal contrast, despite its large impact, is not necessary for monsoons to form. Second, monsoon onset occurs when there is a sudden poleward jump of an ITCZ during its annual cycle of latitudinal movement. A monsoon, then, is an ITCZ after its poleward jump. Third, the SST latitudinal maximum is not necessarily the most significant, or even a necessary, factor in the formation of an ITCZ; there are other important, if not more important, factors. These factors are the interaction between convective circulation and surface fluxes, the interaction between convection and radiation, and the earth's rotation. Finally, the recent understanding of how ITCZs form has led to some conceptual understanding of the origin of the double ITCZ bias in GCM simulations.
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