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South Asian Summer Monsoon and Tropical SSTs in CMIP5 Models

Paper Reviewed
Li, R., Lu, S., Han, B. and Gao, Y. 2015. Connections between the South Asian Summer Monsoon and the tropical sea surface temperature in CMIP5. Journal of Meteorological Research 29: 106-118.

Writing in the Journal of Meteorological Research, Li et al. (2015) note "the South Asian Summer Monsoon (SASM) is a major component of the Asian-Australian monsoon system [that] dominates the rainfall distribution over South Asia and has important economic and social effects," citing Wu et al. (2009), after which they describe how they assessed the abilities of CMIP5 models to reproduce the features of the SASM, El Niño, and their various connections.

These efforts revealed, in the words of the four Chinese researchers, that (1) "the main rainfall period from the multi-model ensemble mean lags that of the reanalysis [data] by one month," that "in most of the models" the magnitudes of (2) SST, (3) precipitation and (4) atmospheric circulation in an El Niño event "are underestimated," and that (5) "if the external forcing is moderate, the change of correlation between El Niño and SASM is difficult to ascertain."

And so they conclude -- and not surprisingly -- that "further diagnostic work on the relationship between snow and SASM in CMIP5 is clearly required." But after so many years of failing to accomplish what is clearly needed, one wonders if the world's climate models will ever get to the point where they can accurately "forecast Earth's climate."

Wu, B., Zhou, T. and Li, T. 2009. Interannual variability of the Asian-Australian monsoon and ENSO simulated by an ocean-atmosphere coupled model. Chinese Journal of Atmospheric Sciences 33: 285-299.

Posted 13 June 2015