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A New Challenge in Modelling Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall

Paper Reviewed
Wang, B., Xiang, B., Li, J., Webster, P.J., Rajeevan, M.N., Liu, J. and Ha, K.-J. 2015. Rethinking Indian monsoon rainfall prediction in the context of recent global warming. Nature Communications 6: 10.1038/ncomms8154.

Wang et al. (2015) introduce their recent communications piece in Nature by writing that the "prediction of Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) is at the heart of tropical climate prediction." But they note, in this regard, that operational forecasts made during recent decades (1989-2012) have shown "little skill." And, therefore, they go on to search for reasons for the persistence of this newly-observed poor climate model performance.

Working with both dynamical and physical-empirical models, the seven scientists were able to show that "this recent failure is largely due to the models' inability to capture new predictability sources emerging during recent global warming," namely, (1) "the development of the central-Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation (CP-ENSO)," (2) "the rapid deepening of the Asian Low" and (3,4) "the strengthening of North and South Pacific Highs during boreal spring."

And so we see that unanticipated environmental changes have the ability, when they occur, to wreak havoc with current climate model predictions, which fact considerably weakens the worth of today's climate models and what they suggest about Earth's climatic future.

Posted 5 October 2015