Association of the pre-monsoon thermal field over north India and the western Tibetan Plateau with summer monsoon rainfall over India
Abstract. In this paper, interannual variability of tropospheric air temperatures over the Asian summer monsoon region during the pre-monsoon months is examined in relation to Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR; June to September total rainfall). For this purpose, monthly grid-point temperatures in the entire troposphere over the Asian summer monsoon region and ISMR data for the period 1949–2012 have been used. Spatial correlation patterns are investigated between the temperature field in the lower tropospheric levels during May over the Asian summer monsoon region and ISMR. The results indicate a strong and significant northwest–southeast dipole structure in the spatial correlations over the Indian region, with highly significant positive (negative) correlations over the regions of north India and the western Tibetan Plateau region – region R1 (north Bay of Bengal: region R2). The observed dipole is seen significantly up to a level of 850 hPa and eventually disappears at 700 hPa. Thermal indices evaluated at 850 hPa level, based on average air temperatures over the north India and western Tibetan Plateau region (TI1) and the north Bay of Bengal region (TI2) during May, show a strong, significant relationship with the ISMR. The results are found to be consistent and robust, especially in the case of TI1 during the period of analysis. A physical mechanism for the relationship between these indices and ISMR is proposed. Finally the composite annual cycle of tropospheric air temperature over R1 during flood/drought years of ISMR is examined. The study brings out the importance of the TI1 in the prediction of flood/drought conditions over the Indian subcontinent.