Dynamical Response of the South Asian Monsoon Trough to Latent Heating from Stratiform and Convective Precipitation
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Simulation experiments using a simplified atmospheric GCM and supplementary diagnostic analyses of observations are performed to understand how the South Asian monsoon trough (MT) responds dynamically to latent heating from mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). Observations reveal that the MT during active monsoons is characterized by a deep cyclonic vorticity extending from the surface to 350 hPa and organized MCSs covering over 3500-4000 km along the Indo-Gangetic plains. The MCSs during
... e MCSs during active monsoons are composed of a relatively higher abundance of stratiform-type precipitation (mostly nimbostratus) as compared to the convective type. The results suggest that a stratiform-type heating profile is very effective in promoting upward development of continental-scale cyclonic circulation well above the midtroposphere over the MT region. The vertical development involves a dynamical uplift of the layer of cyclonic circulation and is induced by midlevel (600-500 hPa) convergence and vorticity stretching above 500 hPa. By varying the population of stratiform and convective rain types in the simulation, the horizontal scale of midlevel vorticity response is shown to increase significantly with stratiform population; in contrast, the midlevel response is more localized when the MCS is dominated by deep convective clouds. For large stratiform populations, the midlevel response is found to extend far westward up to the northern flanks of the African ITCZ, indicative of Rossby wave dispersion of PV anomalies that are generated near the level of maximum heating gradient. From the present findings, one can conclude that the vertical deepening of MT during active monsoons is not merely a localized phenomenon; instead it represents a large-scale dynamical response to organized MCSs that exert pivotal influence on the upward development of cyclonic circulation well above the midtroposphere.