Carbon Neutrality and the South Asian High: Unraveling Climate Dynamics


New research led by Dr. HUANG Gang, a researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, provides crucial insights into how the South Asian High (SAH) responds to shifting CO2 levels, particularly in the context of carbon neutrality.
The SAH, a significant anticyclone spanning the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere over the Asian continent, plays a pivotal role in climate dynamics. Driven by the South Asian summer monsoon and the heating of the Tibetan Plateau, the SAH influences various climate responses with far-reaching implications.
This study meticulously investigated the effects of different atmospheric CO2 concentration pathways on the SAH and delved into the underlying mechanisms. Prof. HUANG Gang, the corresponding author of the study, emphasized, "This study offers valuable insights into the SAH's distinct responses to varying atmospheric CO2 pathways and advances our understanding of the implications of carbon neutrality commitments on the climate system."
The South Asian high, a massive anticyclone over the southern part of the Asian continent, plays a vital role in influencing underlying climate and mass transport. (Image by QU Xia)
The research, conducted using a linear baroclinic model, highlights key mechanisms driving the SAH's response.He explained, "At an altitude of 100 hPa, we observed that the SAH strengthens and shifts equatorward as CO2 concentrations increase. Even when CO2 concentrations stabilize, the SAH continues to migrate southward, with little change in intensity."

After examining the outcomes of the linear baroclinic model, they determined that as CO2 concentrations rise, diabatic heating plays a role in strengthening the SAH. Additionally, both diabatic heating and alterations in stratification contribute to the southward movement of the SAH. When CO2 concentrations stabilize, diabatic heating and changes in stratification contribute to the equatorward displacement of the SAH. However, it's worth noting that two components of diabatic heating, namely latent heating and residual heating, offset each other, resulting in minimal changes in SAH intensity.

The findings, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere, bear important implications for comprehending climate dynamics in a world committed to carbon neutrality. As carbon neutrality efforts gain momentum, research like this equips us to anticipate and address climate changes effectively.
Hou, H.Y., Qu, X., & Huang, G. (2023). Persistently southward of the South Asian high during the radiative forcing stabilization. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere, 128, e2023JD038616.
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