Climate Dynamics

, Volume 53, Issue 11, pp 7081–7096 | Cite as

Thermodynamic and dynamic effects of increased moisture sources over the Tropical Indian Ocean in recent decades

  • Zixuan Han
  • Tao Su
  • Qiong Zhang
  • Qin Wen
  • Guolin FengEmail author


In the present work, the mechanisms for the changes in moisture sources (evaporation minus precipitation; EmP) during boreal summer (May–September) are explored over the tropical Indian Ocean during 1979–2016. We apply a moisture budget analysis to quantify the thermodynamic and dynamic effects. Our results show that the EmP in the tropical central-eastern and southwestern Indian Oceans experienced significant increasing trends during boreal summer. The increased EmP in the tropical central-eastern Indian Ocean is due to the enhanced dynamic divergence (account for approximately 51%), while a stronger dynamic advection contributes more moisture supply to the southwestern Indian Ocean (account for approximately 34%). We find that during recent decades, the enhanced east–west thermal gradient in the Pacific strengthens the Walker Circulation, which leads to a westward shift in convection over the Indian Ocean warm pool, resulting in weakened convection and ascent over the tropical central-eastern Indian Ocean. The weakened convection leads to an anomalous low-level atmospheric divergent circulation, which intensifies the dynamic divergence contributing to the enhanced EmP over the tropical central-eastern Indian Ocean. Additionally, the warming climate during recent decades also increases the land–sea thermal contrast in the vicinity of the Indian Ocean, which enhances the southeastern wind in the low-level troposphere and leads to an enhanced EmP over the southwestern Indian Ocean.


Moisture source Atmospheric moisture budget Dynamic and thermodynamic mechanisms Walker circulation Land–sea thermal contrast 



This study acknowledges the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41530531, 41675092, 41705053, 41575082, 41575074), the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, grant no. 2013-06476), the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC1502303), the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (Grant No. 17KJB170018), and the Postdoctoral Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 2017M611921). Data analysis is performed on the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) at the National Supercomputer Centre (NSC). We also gratefully acknowledge financial support from the China Scholarship Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zixuan Han
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tao Su
    • 3
  • Qiong Zhang
    • 2
  • Qin Wen
    • 4
  • Guolin Feng
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Atmospheric SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.College of Physical Science and TechnologyYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  4. 4.Laboratory for Climate and Ocean–Atmosphere Studies (LaCOAS) and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of PhysicsPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  5. 5.National Climate CenterChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina

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