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National Science Foundation (USA) 2013

The Influence of Desert Heat Lows on Monsoon Precipitation

Desert Heat Monsoon


Titre : The Influence of Desert Heat Lows on Monsoon Precipitation

Organismes NSF : Div Atmospheric & Geospace Sciences (AGS)

Durée : May 1, 2013 — April 30, 2018

This is a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) project to support a junior faculty member in developing and conducting an integrated 5-year program of research and education in atmospheric science. The research component examines the connection between monsoons and the deserts typically found adjacent to monsoon regions on the poleward side (as, for instance, the Sahara is poleward of and adjacent to the Sahel). Previous work by the PI shows that variations in precipitation in several monsoon regions including the Sahel, South Asia, and Australia, are positively correlated with equivalent potential temperature below the cloud layer over adjacent poleward deserts. One hypothesis for this relationship is that desert heat lows produce shallow overturning circulations in which outflow near the 700mb level has an equatorward component which reduces monsoon precipitation by warming and drying the mid-troposphere over the region of monsoonal deep convection. To advance understanding of such monsoon-desert relationships, work under this award will address three main questions : 1) Does shallow flow in desert heat lows alter monsoon precipitation primarily through horizontal advection of moisture and dry static energy ? 2) How important are low-level transient eddies in interactions between desert heat lows and monsoons ? 3) Do heat lows interact with monsoon precipitation in fundamentally the same way in West Africa, South Asia, and Australia ? These research questions are addressed through a three-part research agenda in which the tasks are 1) characterize the monsoon-desert relationships found in observations, based on a combination of in situ, satellite, and reanalysis datasets ; 2) explore these relationships using a simple theoretical model ; and 3) conduct process studies using a state-of-the-art numerical model.
The educational component of this CAREER proposal involves the development of a monsoon forecasting contest with three goals : 1) fostering education on weather, climate, and relevant basic science ; 2) enhancing recruitment and retention of high-promise, underrepresented high school students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields ; and 3) creating an international community for disseminating and discussing monsoon forecasts and research. The monsoon forecasting contest is held through a website which allows participants to enter forecasts of onset date and total seasonal precipitation for the monsoon regions of West Africa, India, Australia, and North America. Participants are asked to submit a rationale along with their predictions, and the website also contains educational materials on monsoons, along with basic science explanations for convection, generation of wind from pressure gradients, and other relevant topics. Guidance for forecasters, including climatological monsoon onset date and precipitation amount, the state of El Nino, and links to operational products. As part of the forecasting contest, the project seeks the participation of inhabitants of monsoon regions as forecasters and as bloggers, to provide a real-world perspective on monsoons and their human impacts. The forecasting contest is accompanied by an educational outreach effort to the New Haven Public School system. The outreach is conducted through the Science Collaborative Hands-On Learning And Research (SCHOLAR) program, in which students take part in a three-week residential summer science program at Yale. The PI is working with SCHOLAR staff to develop a short science module on weather, climate, and monsoons. In addition, in the last three years of the project, two students will be selected to attend a field trip organized by the PI’s department.

Partenaire (s) : William Boos william.boos (Principal Investigator)

Sponsor  : Yale University Office of Sponsored Projects New Haven, CT 06520-8327 (203)785-4689

Financement : $643,465.00

Présentation (National Science Foundation)

Page publiée le 8 février 2017, mise à jour le 22 novembre 2017