20 Sep 2022
20 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Model-simulated hydroclimate variability of the East Asian Summer Monsoon across different climates: insights from a moisture source perspective

Astrid Fremme1,b, Paul Hezel1,a, Øyvind Seland2, and Harald Sodemann1 Astrid Fremme et al.
  • 1Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Meteorologisk Institutt, Blindern, Norway
  • anow at: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • bnow at: Statkraft, Norway

Abstract. Here we study the sensitivity of monsoon season precipitation in the Yangtse River Valley (YRV, 110–122° E and 27–33° N, East China) to climatic boundary conditions from the last glacial maximum (LGM), pre-industrial conditions, and with the RCP6.0 emission scenario. Using a quantitative Lagrangian moisture source diagnostic, we interpret changes in precipitation amount and seasonality in terms of processes at the source regions that contribute to YRV precipitation. Thereby, we gain insight into influential processes and characteristics related to precipitation variability, and the sensitivity of the summer monsoon hydroclimate in East Asia to boundary condition changes in models. Comparing 10-year time slices similar to present- day conditions from the NorESM1-M and CAM5.1 models to ERA Interim reanalysis data reveals overall very similar moisture source regions, albeit with a tendency to more local precipitation origin in the climate models. Also across different climate forcings, the general characteristics of the moisture sources and moisture transport to the YRV are relatively stable, both concerning the location of source regions, their magnitudes, and the relative contributions of moisture from land and ocean areas. Differences in moisture source conditions are larger between the different climate models, than between different climatic boundary conditions using the same model. Overall, these findings imply that the moisture source regions, and thus the general processes of precipitation in the YRV could remain relatively stable across different climatic periods. However, the results may also indicate that current climate models underestimate the potential for non-linear responses to changing boundary conditions. The plausibility of moisture source changes simulated by the different models could in be evaluated in the future using paleoclimatic records, such as the stable isotope composition in cave sediments. Overall, our findings underline that the diagnosis of moisture sources provides a useful additional perspective for understanding and quantifying precipitation mechanisms and the hydroclimate simulated by models.

Astrid Fremme et al.

Status: open (until 01 Nov 2022)

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Astrid Fremme et al.

Astrid Fremme et al.


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Short summary
We study the atmospheric moisture transport into East China for past, present and future climate. To this end, we use different climate and weather prediction model data with a moisture source identification method. We find that the moisture sources are relatively similar for different climates when comparing the same climate models, while differences between models are partly larger than between different climates, which has important implications for interpreting the hydroclimate from models.