Origin of cold bias over the Arabian Sea in climate models

S. Sandeep, R. S. Ajayamohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Almost all climate models in Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project phase five (CMIP5) were found to have a cold bias in Sea Surface Temperature (SST) over the northern Arabian Sea, which is linked to the biases in the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM). This cold SST bias was attributed to the anomalous cold winds from the north-western part of south Asian landmass during boreal winter. However, the origin of the anomalously strong cold winds over the Arabian Sea and its association with the large-scale circulation is obscure. Here we show that an equatorward bias in subtropical Jetstream during boreal spring season anomalously cools down the northern Arabian Sea and adjoining land regions in CMIP5 models. The models with stronger equatorward bias in subtropical jet are also the ones with stronger cold SST bias over the Arabian Sea. The equatorward shift coupled with enhanced strength of the subtropical jet produce a stronger upper tropospheric convergence, leading to a subsidence and divergence at lower levels over the Arabian deserts. The low entropy air flowing from the Arabian land mass cools the northern Arabian Sea. The weaker meridional temperature gradients in the colder models substantially weaken ISM precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6403
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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