2018 Volume 14 Pages 57-63
Recent studies indicate that the view of a general weakening of the monsoon circulation in a warmer climate cannot be simply applied in the Asian monsoon regions. To understand the Asian summer monsoon response to global warming, idealized multi-model experiments are analyzed. In the coupled model response to increased CO2, monsoon westerlies in the lower troposphere are shifted poleward and slightly strengthened over land including South Asia and East Asia, while the tropical easterly jet in the upper troposphere are broadly weakened. The different circulation responses between the lower and upper troposphere is associated with vertically opposite changes in the meridional temperature gradient (MTG) between the Eurasian continent and the tropical Indian Ocean, with a strengthening (weakening) in the lower (upper) troposphere. Atmospheric model experiments to separate the effects of CO2 radiative forcing and sea surface temperature warming reveal that the strengthened MTG in the lower troposphere is explained by the CO2 forcing. On a global perspective, CO2-induced enhancement of the land–sea thermal contrast and resultant circulation changes are the most influential in the South Asian monsoon. This study emphasizes an important role of the land warming on the Asian monsoon response to global warming.