Regime Change Behaviour During Asian Monsoon Onset
Journal of Climate
American Meteorological Society
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by American Meteorological Society. On publication, accepted version to be replaced with published version, under a 6 month embargo
As the ITCZ moves off the equator on an aquaplanet, the Hadley circulation transitions from an equinoctial regime with two near symmetric, significantly eddy-driven cells, to a monsoon-like regime with a strong, thermally direct cross-equatorial cell, intense low-latitude precipitation, and a weak summer hemisphere cell. Dynamical feedbacks appear to accelerate the transition. This study investigates the relevance of this behavior to monsoon onset by using primitive-equation model simulations ranging from aquaplanets to more realistic configurations with Earth’s continents and topography. A change in the relationship between ITCZ latitude and overturning strength is identified once the ITCZ moves poleward of about ∼ 7 ◦ . Monsoon onset is associated with off-equatorial ascent, in regions of non-negligible planetary vorticity, and this is found to generate a vortex stretching tendency that reduces upper level absolute vorticity. In an aquaplanet, this causes a transition to the cross-equatorial, thermally direct regime, intensifying the overturning circulation. Analysis of the zonal momentum budget suggests a stationary wave, driven by topography and land-sea contrast, can trigger a similar transition in the more realistic model configuration, with the wave extending the ascent region of the Southern Hemisphere Hadley cell northward, and enhanced overturning then developing to the south. These two elements of the circulation resemble the East and South Asian monsoons.
The work was supported by the UK-China Research & Innovation Partnership Fund, through the Met Office Climate Science for Service Partnership (CSSP) China, as part of the Newton Fund. GKV also acknowledges support from the Royal Society (Wolfson Foundation), the Leverhulme Trust, and NERC.
This is the author accepted manuscript.
Awaiting citation and DOI
- Mathematics