Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 1363–1373 | Cite as

Changes in the East Asian summer monsoon rainfall under global warming: moisture budget decompositions and the sources of uncertainty

  • Shijie Zhou
  • Gang Huang
  • Ping HuangEmail author


We investigated the changes in the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) rainfall under global warming based on the historical and representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 runs of 18 models from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Because the mechanism of rainfall changes under global warming studied in previous studies is widely based on the moisture budget decompositions (MBDs), we first evaluated the applicability of three MBDs for the changes in the EASM rainfall, which are two complete MBDs in Chou et al. (J Clim 22(8):1982–2005; Chou et al., J Clim 22(8):1982–2005, 2009) and Seager et al. (J Clim 23(17):4651–4668; Seager et al., J Clim 23(17):4651–4668, 2010), and the simplified MBD in Huang et al. (Nat Geosci 6(5):357–361; Huang et al., Nat Geosci 6(5):357–361, 2013). The results show that the simplified MBD in Huang et al. (Nat Geosci 6(5):357–361, 2013) is applicable for the EASM rainfall changes, providing an efficient way to study the EASM rainfall changes, which is used in this study. The EASM rainfall changes can be well explained by two components: the thermodynamic component due to the increase in specific humidity and the dynamic component due to the changes in EASM circulation changes. The thermodynamic component is quite robust among the models, whereas the dynamic component with the circulation changes contributes the major uncertainties of the EASM rainfall changes. Moreover, the apparent intermodel difference in the background circulation is another important source of the EASM rainfall changes. The results imply that the background and changes of the EASM circulation are the key factors for further narrowing the uncertainties of the projected EASM rainfall changes.


East Asian summer monsoon Moisture budget Rainfall Global warming Uncertainty 



This work is supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB953904), the Natural Science Foundation of China (41425019 and 41661144016), the public science and technology research funds projects of ocean (201505013) and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling, which is responsible for CMIP5, and the climate modeling groups (listed in Table 1) for producing and making available their model output.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical ModelingQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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