Climate Dynamics

, Volume 53, Issue 11, pp 7131–7149 | Cite as

Northern Hemisphere land monsoon precipitation changes in the twentieth century revealed by multiple reanalysis datasets

  • Xin Huang
  • Tianjun ZhouEmail author
  • Wenxia Zhang
  • Jie Jiang
  • Puxi Li
  • Yin Zhao


Observations are required to understand monsoon changes over time. Reanalyses are useful supplements to observations; however, their ability to reveal long-term monsoon changes remains unknown. Here, we evaluate against observations the performance of two reanalysis datasets covering the whole twentieth century, the ECMWF reanalysis of the twentieth century (ERA20C) and the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project (20CR), in terms of reproducing the climatological averages, the centennial co-variation, and long-term trends of Northern Hemisphere land monsoon rainfall (NHLMR). Their performance is compared with three other widely used reanalyses, the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis (NCEP1), the ECMWF 40-year reanalysis (ERA40), and the Japanese 55-year Reanalysis Project (JRA55), for the period after 1955. Results show that the five reanalysis datasets reasonably reproduce the climatological NHLMR and NHLM domains. The leading co-variation mode of NHLMR, with an overall increasing tendency before 1955 and a decreasing tendency afterwards, is captured by the corresponding principal components of the two long-term datasets, with some spatial biases. For the long-term precipitation trends, both the ERA20C and 20CR reproduce the increasing trend during 1901–1955, except for parts of the North African (NAF) monsoon region. However, neither dataset captures the decreasing trend of NHLMR after 1955 because of limitations in the NAF and North American (NAM) monsoon region. The NCEP1, ERA40, and JRA55 datasets also have shortcomings in the NAM region. An overall decreasing NHLMR is only shown in the NCEP1 dataset. A moisture budget analysis reveals that the long-term trends of NHLMR are dominated by the dynamic component of moisture convergence, suggesting a prominent role for atmospheric circulation changes. The influence of residual terms related to observations assimilated in the reanalyses is also discussed.


Northern Hemisphere land monsoon rainfall Long-term changes Reanalysis data Moisture budget analysis 



This work was supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA20060102 and 134111KYSB20160031), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41330423). We also acknowledge the support from Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LASG, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of ScienceBeijingChina
  2. 2.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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