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Climate change and the South Asian summer monsoon

Abstract

The vagaries of South Asian summer monsoon rainfall on short and long timescales impact the lives of more than one billion people. Understanding how the monsoon will change in the face of global warming is a challenge for climate science, not least because our state-of-the-art general circulation models still have difficulty simulating the regional distribution of monsoon rainfall. However, we are beginning to understand more about processes driving the monsoon, its seasonal cycle and modes of variability. This gives us the hope that we can build better models and ultimately reduce the uncertainty in our projections of future monsoon rainfall.

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Figure 1: Schematic of summer and winter climate in the South Asian monsoon region.
Figure 2: Historical and SRES A1B projection of South Asian monsoon rainfall.
Figure 3: Precipitation response to doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations.
Figure 4: Probability density functions of interannual variability in monsoon rainfall in control and future climate scenarios.

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Acknowledgements

A.G.T. is financially supported by a Natural Environment Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship grant NE/H015655/1. H.A. acknowledges the support of the Office of Science (Biological and Environmental Research) US Department of Energy, grant DE-FG02-07ER6445 and the institutional grants (Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) of the International Pacific Research Center. The authors wish to thank N. Hilbert for assistance in producing the schematic in Fig. 1.

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Turner, A., Annamalai, H. Climate change and the South Asian summer monsoon. Nature Clim Change 2, 587–595 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1495

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