Historical and future trends in South Asian monsoon low pressure systems in a high-resolution model ensemble


Historical trends in monsoon low pressure systems (LPS), the dominant rain-bearing weather system of South Asia, have been difficult to assess due to changes in the observing network. Future projections have also remained uncertain because prior studies concluded that many coarse-resolution climate models do not accurately simulate LPS. Here, we examine changes in South Asian monsoon LPS simulated by an ensemble of global models, including some with high spatial resolution, that we show skillfully represent LPS. In the ensemble mean, the number of strong LPS (monsoon depressions) decreased over the last 65 years (1950–2014) by about 15% while no trend was detected for weaker LPS (monsoon lows). The reduction in depression counts then moderated, yielding no trend in the periods 1980–2050 or 2015–2050. The ensemble mean projects a shift in genesis from ocean to land and an increase in LPS precipitation of at least 7%/K, which together contribute to a projected increase in seasonal mean and extreme precipitation over central India.

npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 6, 182, doi: 10.1038/s41612-023-00502-3