Role of oceanic and land moisture sources and transport in the seasonal and interannual variability of summer monsoon in India

Amey Pathak, Subimal Ghosh, J. Alejandro Martinez, Francina Dominguez, Praveen Kumar

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Three key issues of moisture supply and Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) variability are discussed in the present work: identification of the oceanic and terrestrial sources of moisture; the extent to which each source affects the ISMR; and their individual contributions to the interannual variability of ISMR. The modified Dynamic Recycling Model, based on a Lagrangian trajectory approach, is used to estimate the relative contributions from 27 terrestrial and oceanic moisture source regions to the monsoon during 1979-2013. ERA-Interim data are used for the study. The results show that the ISMR is strongly influenced by the land-ocean-atmosphere interactions, a significant fraction of atmospheric moisture to the ISMR comes from five main moisture sources: the western Indian Ocean (WIO), central Indian Ocean (CIO), upper Indian Ocean (UIO), Ganges basin (GB), Red Sea and the neighboring gulf (RDG). The moisture flux from WIO is very high during the initial period of monsoon seasons. From the mid-monsoon season, the contribution from this moisture source decays and land sources through evapotranspiration (ET) become more active. Early decay of moisture contributions from the WIO and the GB is observed during weak monsoon years. El Niño years are associated with low contributions of moisture from all sources, whereas warm Indian Ocean years are associated with low moisture flux from the major sources except WIO. ISMR is characterized by the prolonged and increasing moisture supply from WIO during the first half of the monsoon along with contributions from GB during the end of season. The results are consistent across several reanalyses (CFSR, ERA-Interim, MERRA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1839-1859
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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