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  • Annamalai, H., K. Hamilton and K. Sperber., 2007: South Asian Summer Monsoon and Relationship with ENSO in the IPCC AR4 Simulations. J. Climate, 20, 1071-1092., DOI: 10.1175/JCLI4035.

In this paper the extensive integrations produced for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) are used to examine the relationship between ENSO and monsoons at interannual and decadal time scales. The study begins with an analysis of the monsoon simulation in the twentieth-century integrations. Six of the 18 models were found to have a reasonably realistic representation of monsoon precipitation climatology. For each of these six models SST and anomalous precipitation evolution along the equatorial Pacific during El Niño events display considerable differences when compared to observations. Out of these six models only four [Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model versions 2.0 and 2.1 (GFDL_CM_2.0 and GFDL_CM_2.1), Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) model, and Max Planck Institute ECHAM5 (MPI_ECHAM5)] exhibit a robust ENSO–monsoon contemporaneous teleconnection, including the known inverse relationship between ENSO and rainfall variations over India. Lagged correlations between the all-India rainfall (AIR) index and Niño-3.4 SST reveal that three models represent the timing of the teleconnection, including the spring predictability barrier, which is manifested as the transition from positive to negative correlations prior to the monsoon onset. Furthermore, only one of these three models (GFDL_CM_2.1) captures the observed phase lag with the strongest anticorrelation of SST peaking 2–3 months after the summer monsoon, which is partially attributable to the intensity of the simulated El Niño itself. The authors find that the models that best capture the ENSO–monsoon teleconnection are those that correctly simulate the timing and location of SST and diabatic heating anomalies in the equatorial Pacific and the associated changes to the equatorial Walker circulation during El Niño events.

The strength of the AIR-Niño-3.4 SST correlation in the model runs waxes and wanes to some degree on decadal time scales. The overall magnitude and time scale for this decadal modulation in most of the models is similar to that seen in observations. However, there is little consistency in the phase among the realizations, suggesting a lack of predictability of the decadal modulation of the monsoon–ENSO relationship.

The analysis was repeated for each of the four models using results from integrations in which the atmospheric CO2 concentration was raised to twice preindustrial values. From these “best” models in the double CO2 simulations there are increases in both the mean monsoon rainfall over the Indian subcontinent (by 5%–25%) and in its interannual variability (5%–10%). For each model the ENSO–monsoon correlation in the global warming runs is very similar to that in the twentieth-century runs, suggesting that the ENSO–monsoon connection will not weaken as global climate warms. This result, though plausible, needs to be taken with some caution because of the diversity in the simulation of ENSO variability in the coupled models that have been analyzed. Implications of the present results for monsoon prediction are discussed.

Last Updated: 2007-05-31

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