Toward a unified view of the American monsoon systems

Carolina Vera, W. Higgins, J. Amador, T. Ambrizzi, R. Garreaud, D. Gochis, D. Gutzler, D. Lettenmaier, J. Marengo, C. R. Mechoso, J. Nogues-Paegle, P. L. Silva Dias, C. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

552 Scopus citations


An important goal of the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) research on the American monsoon systems is to determine the sources and limits of predictability of warm season precipitation, with emphasis on weekly to interannual time scales. This paper reviews recent progress in the understanding of the American monsoon systems and identifies some of the future challenges that remain to improve warm season climate prediction. Much of the recent progress is derived from complementary international programs in North and South America, namely, the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) and the Monsoon Experiment South America (MESA), with the following common objectives: 1) to understand the key components of the American monsoon systems and their variability, 2) to determine the role of these systems in the global water cycle, 3) to improve observational datasets, and 4) to improve simulation and monthly-to-seasonal prediction of the monsoons and regional water resources. Among the recent observational advances highlighted in this paper are new insights into moisture transport processes, description of the structure and variability of the South American low-level jet, and resolution of the diurnal cycle of precipitation in the core monsoon regions. NAME and MESA are also driving major efforts in model development and hydrologic applications. Incorporated into the postfield phases of these projects are assessments of atmosphere-land surface interactions and model-based climate predictability experiments. As CLIVAR research on American monsoon systems evolves, a unified view of the climatic processes modulating continental warm season precipitation is beginning to emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4977-5000
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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