Monsoon rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere impacts about 60% of the World population in Southeast Asia, West Africa and North America. Given the possible impacts of global warming, solid predictions of monsoon rainfall for the next decades are important for infrastructure planning and sustainable economic development.
This is a three-layered cloud structure in a developing Madden-Julian Oscillation during the Indian Ocean DYNAMO field experiments (November 2011). The photo won first place in the DYNAMO photo contest.
Credit: Owen Shieh, University of Hawaii
Such predictions, however, are very complex because they require not only pinning down how manmade greenhouse gas emissions will impact the monsoons and monsoon rainfall, but also a knowledge of natural long-term climate swings, about which little is known so far.
To tackle this problem an international team of scientists around Meteorology Professor Bin Wang at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, examined climate data to see what happened in the Northern Hemisphere during the last three decades, a time during which the global-mean surface-air temperature rose by about 0.4°C. Current theory predicts that the Northern Hemisphere summer monsoon circulation should weaken under anthropogenic global warming.
Wang and his colleagues, however, found that over the past 30 years, the summer monsoon circulation, as well as the Hadley and Walker circulations, have all substantially intensified. This intensification has resulted in significantly greater global summer monsoon rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere than predicted from greenhouse-gas-induced warming alone: namely a 9.5% increase, compared to the anthropogenic predicted contribution of 2.6% per degree of global warming.
Most of the recent intensification is attributable to a cooling of the eastern Pacific that began in 1998. This cooling is the result of natural long-term swings in ocean surface temperatures, particularly swings in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation or mega-El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which has lately been in a mega-La Niña or cool phase. Another natural climate swing, called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, also contributes to the intensification of monsoon rainfall.
"These natural swings in the climate system must be understood in order to make realistic predictions of monsoon rainfall and of other climate features in the coming decades," says Wang. "We must be able to determine the relative contributions of greenhouse-gas emissions and of long-term natural swings to future climate change."
Citation: Bin Wang, Jian Liu, Hyung-Jin Kim, Peter J. Webster, So-Young Yim, and Baoqiang Xiang: Northern Hemisphere summer monsoon intensified by mega-El Niño/southern oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. PNAS 2013; published ahead of print March 18, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1219405110.
Funding for this work: B.W., S.-Y.Y., and B.X. acknowledge support from the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) institutional support (JAMSTEC, NASA, and NOAA), Scientific Research Project of China Awards 2010CB950102 and XDA05080800 (to J.L. and B.W.), Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Grant 2011-0021927 through Global Research Laboratory Program (to B.W.), National Science Foundation Awards AGS-1005599 (to B.W.) and ATM- 0965610 (to P.J.W.), Asian–Pacific Economic Cooperation Climate Center (B.X.), and the Program for Risk Information on Climate Change of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (H.-J.K.).
Researcher Contact: Bin Wang is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC). Tel.: (808) 956-2563; email: firstname.lastname@example.orgInternational Pacific Research Center Media Contact: Gisela E. Speidel, tel.: (808) 956-9252; email:email@example.com.
Gisela Speidel | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Atlantic mollies > Climate change > El Niño > Hemisphere > IPRC > Meteorology > Northern Lights > Pacific coral > climate system > gas emission > global climate change > global warming > greenhouse gas emission > information technology > monsoon rain > monsoon rainfall > oscillation > summer monsoon
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy