Aerosols, Monsoon Rainfall Variability, and Climate Change

William K. M. Lau
Chief, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Aerosol and monsoon related droughts and floods are two of the most serious environmental hazards confronting more than 60% of the population of the world living in the Asian monsoon countries. In recent years, thanks to improved satellite and in-situ observations, and improved models, great strides have been made in aerosol, and monsoon research respectively. There is now a growing body of evidence suggesting that interaction of aerosol , both natural and man-made, with monsoon dynamics may alter the redistribution of energy in the atmosphere and at the earth's surface, thereby influencing monsoon water cycle and climate. In this talk, I will give examples of new findings and hypotheses from exploratory modeling and observational studies regarding the possible impacts of absorbing aerosols, particularly black carbon and dust, in modulating monsoon rainfall distribution and characteristics, influencing Pacific storm tracks, and enhancing warming of the Tibetan Plateau, accelerating melting of snowpacks and glaciers in the Himalayas, through regional climate feedbacks. The implications of the above on the water resources of the Asian countries will be discussed.

Atmospheric climate processes, with special emphasis on monsoon, tropical cyclones, aerosol-clouds-precipitation-climate interactions, climate variability and change.


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