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Indian Summer Monsoon as simulated by the regional earth system model RegCM-ES: the role of local air–sea interaction

Di Sante, Fabio, Coppola, Erika, Farneti, Riccardo, Giorgi, Filippo
Climate dynamics 2019 v.53 no.1-2 pp. 759-778
Earth system science, El Nino, climate, climate models, freshwater, hydrologic models, intraseasonal oscillation, mixing, monsoon season, rain, river flow, Bay of Bengal, South Asia
In this study the regional earth system model RegCM-ES is applied over the South Asia CORDEX domain to improve the simulation of the variability of the Indian Summer Monsoon. RegCM-ES has been integrated for 30 years, from 1979 to 2008, with a spatial resolution of 50 km in the atmospheric component, 18 km in the ocean and 50 or 12 km in the two hydrological models used for this study. A new hydrological component, the Cetemps Hydrological Model (CHyM), is included in the coupled system composed by the regional climate model RegCM4 and the ocean model MITgcm. In our analysis we show how the two way air–sea feedback simulated by the coupled system largely improves the representation of intraseasonal (ISV) and interannual (IAV) modes of variability of the Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall (ISMR). The comparison with the Hydrological Discharge (HD) model shows large improvements in simulating the correct amount of freshwater river discharge over the Bay of Bengal (BoB), one of the fundamental factor responsible for the formation of the shallow barrier layer (BL) over the BoB. However, the improvements in river discharge do not have a clear effect on the BL due to excessive mixing in the ocean model. The improvements in the simulation of IAV are primarily due to the ability of RegCM-ES to reproduce the Intraseasonal Oscillation modes and to the complex mechanism related to the delayed response of the ISMR to the ENSO forcing. Our results highlight the very important role of fine scale air–sea feedbacks in modulating the ISMR and the internal dynamics of this phenomenon.