This article provides a comprehensive review of the global monsoon that encompasses findings from studies of both modern monsoons and paleomonsoons. We introduce a definition for the global monsoon that incorporates its three-dimensional distribution and ultimate causes, emphasizing the direct drive of seasonal pressure system changes on monsoon circulation and depicting the intensity in terms of both circulation and precipitation. We explore the global monsoon climate changes across a wide range of timescales from tectonic to intraseasonal. Common features of the global monsoon are global homogeneity, regional diversity, seasonality, quasi-periodicity, irregularity, instability, and asynchroneity. We emphasize the importance of solar insolation, Earth orbital parameters, underlying surface properties, and land-air-sea interactions for global monsoon dynamics. We discuss the primary driving force of monsoon variability on each timescale and the relationships among dynamics on multiple timescales. Natural processes and anthropogenic impacts are of great significance to the understanding of future global monsoon behavior.


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