Response of the Asian summer monsoons to a high-latitude thermal forcing: Mechanisms and nonlinearities

Stefanie Talento, Timothy Osborn, Manoj Joshi, S. B. Ratna, Jürg Luterbacher

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This study investigates mechanisms and nonlinearities in the response of the Asian Summer Monsoons (ASM) to high-latitude thermal forcings of different amplitudes. Using a suite of runs carried out with an intermediate-complexity atmospheric general circulation model, we find that the imposed forcings produce a strong precipitation response over the eastern ASM but a rather weak response over the southern ASM. The forcing also causes a precipitation dipole with wet conditions over the eastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) and dry conditions over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and southeast Asia. A moderate increase of precipitation along the southern margin of the TP is also produced. Simulations designed to isolate the causal mechanisms show that thermodynamic interactions involving the tropical surface oceans are far less important than the water-vapour feedback for the transmission of information from the high-latitudes to the ASM. Additionally, we assess the nonlinearity of the ASM precipitation response to the forcing amplitude using a novel application of the empirical orthogonal function method. The response can be decomposed in two overlapping patterns. The first pattern represents a precipitation dipole with wet conditions over the eastern TP and dry conditions over BoB, which linearly increases with forcing amplitude becoming quasi-stationary for large forcing amplitudes (i.e. amplitudes leading to Arctic temperature anomalies larger than 10 degrees C). The second pattern is associated with increased precipitation over the southeastern TP and is nonlinearly dependent on forcing, being most important for intermediate forcing amplitudes (i.e. amplitudes leading to Arctic temperature anomalies between 5 and 10 degrees C).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3927–3944
Number of pages18
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number9-10
Early online date26 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Asian Monsoons
  • High-latitude forcing
  • Nonlinear
  • Slab model

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