Seminário: Understanding Continental-to-Regional Scale Mechanisms Driving Climate Variability and Change in High Asia Mountains

10/11/2015 - 13:00
Auditório 2 do IAG (Rua do Matão, 1226, Cidade Universitária)

O seminário extra do Departamento de Ciências Atmosféricas será apresentado por Leila M. V. Carvalho (University of California, Santa Barbara/Climate Variation and Change Group)
Understanding Continental-to-Regional Scale Mechanisms Driving Climate Variability and Change in High Asia Mountains
High Mountain Asia (HMA) is defined as the region of elevated topography in central Asia encompassing the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountain ranges. Rivers such as the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra drain the orogen’s catchments, providing water for power generation and agriculture for billions of people throughout central Asia. Snowfall accumulation within these watersheds has constructed the world’s largest and densest network of glaciers, which are essential to regional hydrology as their seasonal melting sustains rivers beyond the timing of precipitation events. Rising temperatures are contributing to decreases in mass-balance of these high-elevations reservoirs. Glacier records in the majority of High Asia, including the Himalaya, yield some of the world’s most rapid retreat rates. However, there are in fact a number of steady state or positive mass-balance glaciers in the Karakoram and western Himalaya regions (KH), often referred to as the Karakoram Anomaly. Understanding the future of the water resources in High Asia in a warming planet requires identifying complex mechanisms on continental-to-regional scales and interactions with the region’s unique orography. The regional climate of High Mountain Asia is influenced by two predominant systems: The Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) that extends approximately from June to September and winter westerly disturbances (WWD) from December to March. The interplay between these systems results in two distinct climatic regimes with differing precipitation and water storage characteristics. This talk presents our most recent research on High Asia Climate focusing on observations and regional modeling with the Weather Research and Forecast model (WRF). This study investigates recent changes in the WWD and implications for the future of the Western Himalayan glaciers and explores tropical-extratropical interactions and mechanisms associated with extreme precipitation in the region. Additionally, this study examines with WRF the importance of the complex terrain in the development of synoptic systems, presents a new high-resolution data set that will be available for the scientific community, and discusses future scientific perspectives.
Short bio:
Dr. Leila M. V. Carvalho obtained her PhD, MSc and BSc in meteorology at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil. She was Assistant Professor at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, USP, from 1998-2009. She is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Geography and Earth Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara. She leads the “Climate Variation and Change” group at UCSB. Her main research interests are on climate variations and changes with focus on monsoon regions, tropical meteorology, tropical-extratropical interactions and global and regional modeling.