Scientists investigating the East Asian Summer Monsoon have found that the abundance of vegetation during winter and spring months is an important indicator of how much summer precipitation will fall.
The East Asian Summer Monsoon influences the lives of a quarter of the world's people and is critical for the cultivation and production of rice, East Asia's staple food. Forecasts of monsoon intensity and duration largely affect yearly agricultural planning.
"By including the land cover in our monsoon forecast models, we were able to explain about 80 percent of the variation in monsoonal rainfall. That's a huge improvement in how well models successfully predict the strength of the monsoon several months out," says the study's lead author Eungul Lee.
Lee conducted the work as a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). He's now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lee and his CIRES colleagues published their findings last week in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).Earlier monsoon models, which base their predictions on ocean factors such as sea surface temperature, typically explain just 25 percent to 40 percent of variations in East Asian summer rainfall. Such low predictive skill makes it impossible to accurately forecast droughts or floods, says Lee.
Specifically, Lee and his colleagues find that strong northern East Asian Summer Monsoons tend to follow verdant springs in southern Asia but are weaker when northern and central Asia are more green. Southern East Asian Summer Monsoons are strongest following springs with abundant vegetative growth in Mongolia and western Asia.
Vegetation may indicate high soil moisture, the researchers say.
"In northern Asia, high soil moisture is probably cooling the land as it evaporates, in the same way that sweating cools the body. This cooling decreases the temperature difference between the land and ocean, inhibiting the formation of a strong monsoon system," says study coauthor Thomas Chase.
In contrast, higher soil moisture in southern Asia, near the ocean, appears to provide an additional moisture source to fuel monsoonal rains.
Earlier this year, the researchers found similar links between land cover and the Indian Monsoon.
"Findings from both regions enhance our hopes of identifying land- atmosphere relationships that will allow us to better predict the North American Monsoon, which serves as an important source of moisture for the U.S. Southwest," says Balaji Rajagopalan, who participated in both studies.
Peter Weiss | AGU
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences