Impact of irrigation on the South Asian summer monsoon



[1] The Indian subcontinent is one of the most intensely irrigated regions of the world and state of the art climate models do not account for the representation of irrigation. Sensitivity studies with the regional climate model REMO show distinct feedbacks between the simulation of the monsoon circulation with and without irrigation processes. We find that the temperature and mean sea level pressure, where the standard REMO version without irrigation shows a significant bias over the areas of Indus basin, is highly sensitive to the water used for irrigation. In our sensitivity test we find that removal of this bias has caused less differential heating between land and sea masses. This in turns reduces the westerlies entering into land from Arabian Sea, hence creating conditions favorable for currents from Bay of Bengal to intrude deep into western India and Pakistan that have been unrealistically suppressed before. We conclude that the representation of irrigated water is unavoidable for realistic simulation of south Asian summer monsoon and its response under global warming.