Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
 | Highlight paper
28 Aug 2013
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 28 Aug 2013

Consistent increase in Indian monsoon rainfall and its variability across CMIP-5 models

A. Menon, A. Levermann, J. Schewe, J. Lehmann, and K. Frieler

Abstract. The possibility of an impact of global warming on the Indian monsoon is of critical importance for the large population of this region. Future projections within the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP-3) showed a wide range of trends with varying magnitude and sign across models. Here the Indian summer monsoon rainfall is evaluated in 20 CMIP-5 models for the period 1850 to 2100. In the new generation of climate models, a consistent increase in seasonal mean rainfall during the summer monsoon periods arises. All models simulate stronger seasonal mean rainfall in the future compared to the historic period under the strongest warming scenario RCP-8.5. Increase in seasonal mean rainfall is the largest for the RCP-8.5 scenario compared to other RCPs. Most of the models show a northward shift in monsoon circulation by the end of the 21st century compared to the historic period under the RCP-8.5 scenario. The interannual variability of the Indian monsoon rainfall also shows a consistent positive trend under unabated global warming. Since both the long-term increase in monsoon rainfall as well as the increase in interannual variability in the future is robust across a wide range of models, some confidence can be attributed to these projected trends.

Final-revised paper