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The mean evolution and variability of the Asian summer monsoon: Comparison of ECMWF and NCEP-NCAR reanalyses

Annamalai, H., Slingo, J. M., Sperber, K. R. and Hodges, K. (1999) The mean evolution and variability of the Asian summer monsoon: Comparison of ECMWF and NCEP-NCAR reanalyses. Monthly Weather Review, 127 (6). pp. 1157-1186. ISSN 1520-0493

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/1520-0493(1999)127<1157:TMEAVO>2.0.CO;2

Abstract/Summary

The behavior of the Asian summer monsoon is documented and compared using the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Reanalysis (ERA) and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP-NCAR) Reanalysis. In terms of seasonal mean climatologies the results suggest that, in several respects, the ERA is superior to the NCEP-NCAR Reanalysis. The overall better simulation of the precipitation and hence the diabatic heating field over the monsoon domain in ERA means that the analyzed circulation is probably nearer reality. In terms of interannual variability, inconsistencies in the definition of weak and strong monsoon years based on typical monsoon indices such as All-India Rainfall (AIR) anomalies and the large-scale wind shear based dynamical monsoon index (DMI) still exist. Two dominant modes of interannual variability have been identified that together explain nearly 50% of the variance. Individually, they have many features in common with the composite flow patterns associated with weak and strong monsoons, when defined in terms of regional AIR anomalies and the large-scale DMI. The reanalyses also show a common dominant mode of intraseasonal variability that describes the latitudinal displacement of the tropical convergence zone from its oceanic-to-continental regime and essentially captures the low-frequency active/break cycles of the monsoon. The relationship between interannual and intraseasonal variability has been investigated by considering the probability density function (PDF) of the principal component of the dominant intraseasonal mode. Based on the DMI, there is an indication that in years with a weaker monsoon circulation, the PDF is skewed toward negative values (i,e., break conditions). Similarly, the PDFs for El Nino and La Nina years suggest that El Nino predisposes the system to more break spells, although the sample size may limit the statistical significance of the results.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:153
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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