Direct radiative effects of dust aerosols emitted from the Tibetan Plateau on the East Asian summer monsoon – a regional climate model simulation

Sun, Hui; Liu, Xiaodong; Pan, Zaitao

While dust aerosols emitted from major Asian sources such as Taklimakan and Gobi deserts have been shown to have strong effect on Asian monsoon and climate, the role of dust emitted from Tibetan Plateau (TP) itself, where aerosols can directly interact with the TP heat pump because of their physical proximity both in location and elevation, has not been examined. This study uses the dust-coupled RegCM4.1 regional climate model (RCM) to simulate the spatiotemporal distribution of dust aerosols originating within the TP and their radiative effects on the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) during both heavy and light dust years. Two 20-year simulations with and without the dust emission from TP showed that direct radiative cooling in the mid-troposphere induced by the TP locally produced dust aerosols resulted in an overall anticyclonic circulation anomaly in the low troposphere centered over the TP region. The northeasterly anomaly in the EASM region reduces its strength considerably. The simulations found a significant negative correlation between the TP column dust load produced by local emissions and the corresponding anomaly in the EASM index ( r = −0.46). The locally generated TP dust can cause surface cooling far downstream in Bohai Gulf and the China–North Korea border area through stationary Rossby wave propagation. Although dust from within TP (mainly Qaidam Basin) is a relatively small portion of total Asian aerosols, its impacts on Asian monsoon and climate seems disproportionately large, likely owning to its higher elevation within TP itself.

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Sun, Hui / Liu, Xiaodong / Pan, Zaitao: Direct radiative effects of dust aerosols emitted from the Tibetan Plateau on the East Asian summer monsoon – a regional climate model simulation. 2017. Copernicus Publications.

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