• S Sajani

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • The role of low-frequency intraseasonal oscillations in the anomalous Indian summer monsoon rainfall of 2002

      S Sajani S Naseema Beegum K Krishna Moorthy

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      We analyze the dynamical features and responsible factors of the low-frequency intraseasonal time scales which influenced the nature of onset, intensity and duration of active/break phases and withdrawal of the monsoon during the anomalous Indian summer monsoon of 2002 – the most severe drought recorded in recent times. During that season, persistent warm sea surface temperature anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean played a significant role in modulating the strength of the monsoon Hadley circulation. This in turn affected the onset and intense break spells especially the long break during the peak monsoon month of July. Strong low-frequency intraseasonal modulations with significant impact on the onset and active/break phases occurred in 2002 which were manifested as a good association between low-frequency intraseasonal oscillations and the onset and active/break spells. Further, SST anomalies over the equatorial Indo-Pacific region on low-frequency intraseasonal time scales were found to affect the equatorial eastward and thereby off-equatorial northward propagations of enhanced convection over the Indian region. These propagations in turn modulated the active/break cycle deciding the consequent severity of the 2002 drought.

    • Monsoon sensitivity to aerosol direct radiative forcing in the community atmosphere model

      S Sajani K Krishna Moorthy K Rajendran Ravi S Nanjundiah

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      Aerosol forcing remains a dominant uncertainty in climate studies. The impact of aerosol direct radiative forcing on Indian monsoon is extremely complex and is strongly dependent on the model, aerosol distribution and characteristics specified in the model, modelling strategy employed as well as on spatial and temporal scales. The present study investigates (i) the aerosol direct radiative forcing impact on mean Indian summer monsoon when a combination of quasi-realistic mean annual cycles of scattering and absorbing aerosols derived from an aerosol transport model constrained with satellite observed Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) is prescribed, (ii) the dominant feedback mechanism behind the simulated impact of all-aerosol direct radiative forcing on monsoon and (iii) the relative impacts of absorbing and scattering aerosols on mean Indian summer monsoon. We have used CAM3, an atmospheric GCM (AGCM) that has a comprehensive treatment of the aerosol–radiation interaction. This AGCM has been used to perform climate simulations with three different representations of aerosol direct radiative forcing due to the total, scattering aerosols and black carbon aerosols. We have also conducted experiments without any aerosol forcing. Aerosol direct impact due to scattering aerosols causes significant reduction in summer monsoon precipitation over India with a tendency for southward shift of Tropical Convergence Zones (TCZs) over the Indian region. Aerosol forcing reduces surface solar absorption over the primary rainbelt region of India and reduces the surface and lower tropospheric temperatures. Concurrent warming of the lower atmosphere over the warm oceanic region in the south reduces the land–ocean temperature contrast and weakens the monsoon overturning circulation and the advection of moisture into the landmass. This increases atmospheric convective stability, and decreases convection, clouds, precipitation and associated latent heat release. Our analysis reveals a defining negative moisture-advection feedback that acts as an internal damping mechanism spinning down the regional hydrological cycle and leading to significant circulation changes in response to external radiative forcing perturbations. When total aerosol loading (both absorbing and scattering aerosols) is prescribed, dust and black carbon aerosols are found to cause significant atmospheric heating over the monsoon region but the aerosol-induced weakening of meridional lower tropospheric temperature gradient (leading to weaker summer monsoon rainfall) more than offsets the increase in summer-time rainfall resulting from the atmospheric heating effect of absorbing aerosols, leading to a net decrease of summer monsoon rainfall. Further, we have carried out climate simulations with globally constant AODs and also with the constant AODs over the extended Indian region replaced by realistic AODs. Regional aerosol radiative forcing perturbations over the Indian region is found to have impact not only over the region of loading but over remote tropical regions as well. This warrants the need to prescribe realistic aerosol properties in strategic regions such as India in order to accurately assess the aerosol impact.

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