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Monthly Weather Review: Vol. 130, No. 12, pp. 2889–2904.

Impacts of Air–Sea Coupling on the Simulation of Mean Asian Summer Monsoon in the ECHAM4 Model*

Xiouhua Fu, Bin Wang, and Tim Li

International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

(Manuscript received 10 July 2001, in final form 1 April 2002)


Atmosphere–ocean coupling was found to play a critical role in simulating the mean Asian summer monsoon and its climatological intraseasonal oscillation (CISO) in comparisons of the results from a stand-alone ECHAM4 atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) and a coupled ECHAM4–ocean [Wang–Li–Fu (WLF)] model. The stand-alone simulation considerably overestimates the equatorial Indian Ocean rainfall and underestimates monsoon rainfall near 15°N, particularly over the eastern Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Upon coupling with an ocean model, the simulated monsoon rainfall becomes more realistic with the rainbelt near 15°N (near the equator) intensified (reduced). These two rainbelts are connected by the northward-propagating CISOs that are significantly enhanced by the air–sea interactions.

Both local and remote air–sea interactions in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans contribute to better simulation of the Asian summer monsoon. The local impact is primarily due to negative feedback between SST and convection. The excessive rainfall near the equatorial Indian Ocean reduces (increases) the downward solar radiation (upward latent heat flux). These changes of surface heat fluxes cool the sea surface upon coupling, thus reducing local rainfall. The cooling of the equatorial Indian Ocean drives an anticyclonic Rossby wave response and enhances the meridional land–sea thermal contrast. Both strengthen the westerly monsoon flow and monsoon rainfall around 15°N. The local negative feedback also diminishes the excessive CISO variability in the equatorial Indian Ocean that appeared in the stand-alone atmospheric run. The remote impact stems from the reduced rainfall in the western Pacific Ocean. The overestimated rainfall (easterly wind) in the western North (equatorial) Pacific cools the sea surface upon coupling, thus reducing rainfall in the tropical western Pacific. This reduced rainfall further enhances the Indian monsoon rainfall by strengthening the Indian–Pacific Walker circulation. These results suggest that coupling an atmospheric model with an ocean model can better simulate Asian summer monsoon climatology.

© Copyright by American Meteorological Society 2002