Bill Lau Explains 134-Year-Old Blanford Hypothesis

ESSIC Research Scientist Bill Lau recently wrote a paper that provided a plausible explanation to the Blanford hypothesis, an 1884 observation of a connection between springtime snow cover on the Tibetan Plateau and the intensity of the summer monsoon season in India.

Lau found that the before the monsoons begin, dark aerosols such as dust and soot settle on the Tibetan Plateau’s snowpack and absorb sunlight, causing the snow to melt more quickly.  In years with heavy springtime dust deposition, the warmer temperatures set off a series of events that intensify India’s summer monsoon.

In addition to his work at ESSIC, Lau is an adjunct professor of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Maryland and senior scientist emeritus at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  His research work spans more than 35 years of data analyses, field campaigns and modeling studies.

To read the CMNS press release, click here: “Middle Eastern Desert Dust on the Tibetan Plateau Could Affect the Indian Summer Monsoon”.