Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
13 July 2012

Climate response of the South Asian monsoon system to anthropotenic aerosols



The equilibrium climate response to the total effects (direct, indirect and semi-direct effects) of aerosols arising from anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions on the South Asian summer monsoon system is studied using a coupled atmosphere-slab ocean model. The results suggest that anthropogenic and biomass burning aerosols generally induce a reduction in mean summer monsoon precipitation over most parts of the Indian subcontinent, strongest along the western coastline of the Indian peninsula and eastern Nepal region, but modest increases also occur over the northwestern part of the subcontinent. While most of the noted reduction in precipitation is triggered by increased emissions of aerosols from anthropogenic activities, modest increases in the northwest are mostly associated with decreases in local emissions of aerosols from forest fire and grass fire sources. Anthropogenic aerosols from outside Asia also contribute to the overall reduction in precipitation but the dominant contribution comes from aerosol sources within Asia. Local emissions play a more important role in the total rainfall response to anthropogenic aerosol sources during the early monsoon period, whereas both local as well as remote emissions of aerosols play almost equally important roles during the later part of the monsoon period. While precipitation responses are primarily driven by local aerosol forcing, regional surface temperature changes over the region are strongly influenced by anthropogenic aerosols from sources further away (non-local changes). Changes in local anthropogenic organic and black carbon emissions by as much as a factor of two (preserving their ratio) produce the same basic signatures in the model’s summer monsoon temperature and precipitation responses.

“Climate Response Of The South Asian Monsoon System To Anthropotenic Aerosols”. 2012. Journal Of Geophysical Research, D13209. doi:10.1029/2012JD017508.
Funding Program Area(s)