On the length and intensity of the West African summer monsoon during the last interglacial African humid period

The increase in summer monsoon precipitation over western Africa during the last interglacial (LIG) relative to the pre-industrial (PI) is well documented, but it is uncertain whether this increase is due to larger rainfall rate alone, an extension of the summer monsoon season or a combination of the two. Due to different orbital configuration, the boreal summer of the LIG was warmer but shorter than the PI, potentially influencing the summer monsoon duration. In this study, we employ a newly developed isotope-enabled climate model, AWI-ESM-wiso to investigate the intensity and length of the West African Summer Monsoon (WASM) for both LIG and PI time periods. Our model results indicate that, despite an intensification in summer insolation and an enhanced hydrological cycle, WASM season in the LIG is 9 days shorter compared to the PI. During the LIG, increased insolation in late spring and early summer strengthens the Saharan heat low (SHL) and its associated sub-systems, facilitating a faster accumulation of potential instability and an earlier WASM onset. However, a substantial earlier withdrawal of the WASM is also detected, driven by an earlier southward shift of insolation maximum. Moreover, our findings are further supported by models participating in the 4th phase of the Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP4).


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Authors: Shi, Xiaoxu, Werner, Martin, Pausata, Francesco S.R., Yang, Hu, Liu, Jiping, D'Agostino, Roberta, Ingrosso, Roberto, Yang, Chaoyuan, Gao, Qinggang, Lohmann, Gerrit

On this site: Qinggang Gao
1 March, 2024
Quaternary Science Reviews / 328
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