At every time scale, from those controlled by orbital forcing (10 000 to 100 000 years) to shorter ones (10 to 1000 years), the influence of the low latitudes in global climatic changes is not yet clear although several studies suggest that the moisture and heat exchanges at low latitudes between the ocean and atmosphere and the redistribution of heat by the oceanic circulation and exchanges between the different water masses played a key role in these climatic changes.
The monsoon regime resulting from these moisture and heat exchanges is a seasonal, important and sensitive component of the climatic system and it characterizes in particular the southeast Asian climate. During summer, the moisture (precipitation) is carried from the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean to East Asia, affecting approximately one-third of the global population. Precipitations on the continent can be devastating but they are also sources of life as they contribute to the fertility of the field in these overpopulated areas. Understanding how this monsoon regime and more generally, the moisture exchange between atmosphere, ocean and land has changed during the past and how it was re-distributed to the other regions in particular via the ocean circulation is a challenge for the understanding of its future evolution.
The International Associated Laboratory MONOCL combines scientific expertise of Chinese and French research scientists both in experimental and modeling studies, and focuses on the understanding and quantification of the past variability of the East Asian Monsoon and of the oceanic circulation in the South-east Asian and western Pacific regions.