New research from the University of Kansas published in Earth-Science Reviews offers insight into one of the world’s most powerful monsoon systems: the Indian summer monsoon.
New research from the University of Kansas published in Earth-Science Reviews offers insight into one of the world’s most powerful monsoon systems: the Indian summer monsoon. The study details how the monsoon, of vital social and economic importance to the people of the region, is supercharged by atmospheric dust particles swept up by winds from deserts in the Middle East.
“We know that dust coming from the desert, when lifted by strong winds into the atmosphere, can absorb solar radiation,” said lead author Qinjian Jin, lecturer and academic program associate with KU’s Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science. “The dust, after absorbing solar radiation, becomes very hot. These dust particles suspended in the atmosphere can heat the atmosphere enough that the air pressure will change — and it can result in changes in the circulation patterns, like the winds.”
This phenomenon, dubbed an “elevated heat pump,” drives moisture onto the Indian subcontinent from the sea.
“The Indian summer monsoon is characterized by strong winds in the summer,” Jin said. “So once the winds change, the moisture transport from ocean to land will change, and consequently they will increase the precipitation. The precipitation is very important for people living in South Asia, especially India, and important for agriculture and drinkable water.”
Read more at University of Kansas
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