Intense rainfall conditions over Indo-Gangetic Plains under the influence of Madden–Julian oscillation

  • Madhu Singh
  • R. BhatlaEmail author
Original Paper


The Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGPs) are densely populated and agriculturally productive areas with strong interannual and intraseasonal rainfall variability. The intraseasonal rainfall variability over IGPs is due to variation in sea surface temperature in the equatorial Indian Ocean. The intense rainfall activity over IGPs is mainly convection-driven, which may be linked with Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO). The threshold for exceptionally heavy rainfall during the period 1979–2012 is based on the analysis of heavy rainfall episodes (percentage departure in daily rainfall (PDR ≥ 700%). The thresholds for extremely strong MJO events show highest departure in MJO amplitude (PDA ≤ 200%). The present study aims to find the simultaneous relationship between 60 and 30-day cycles of rainfall variability over IGPs and linked with MJO amplitude variability for the period 1979–2012. Further, the 30-day cycle of rainfall variability is elaborately studied for different phases of MJO. The monthly and daily variability of IGPs rainfall as well as MJO amplitude is analysed to find important intense rainfall and MJO events. The results suggest that the monthly rainfall variability is caused due to synoptic scale weather systems like monsoon trough oscillation and corresponding pressure fluctuations over IGPs. The exceptionally intense rainfall activity during onset and retreat phases is observed to be associated with MJO phases 6–8. The intense rainfall activity during active-break phase is observed to be associated with MJO phases 3–5. The intense rainfall events during break phase are observed along foothills of Himalaya. The day-to-day rainfall variability is due to interaction between monsoon circulation and MJO.



The authors are very much grateful to Dr. DR Pattanaik, India Meteorological Department, New Delhi for his valuable suggestions that helped a lot in improving the quality of this paper. The Bureau of Meteorology ( is thankfully acknowledged for providing real-time MJO data.


  1. Anandh PC, Vissa NK, Broderick C (2017) Role of MJO in modulating rainfall characteristics observed over India in all seasons utilizing TRMM. Int J Climatol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhatla R, Singh M, Mall RK, Tripathi A, Raju PVS (2015) Variability of summer monsoon rainfall over Indo-Gangetic Plains in relation to El-Nino/La-Nina. Nat Hazards 78(2):837–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhatla R, Singh M, Pattanaik DR (2017) Impact of Madden-Julian oscillation on onset of summer monsoon over India. Theor Appl Climatol 128(1–2):381–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chang WY, Lee WC, Liou YC (2015) The kinematic and microphysical characteristics and associated precipitation efficiency of subtropical convection during SoWMEX/TiMREX. Mon Weather Rev 143(1):317–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Guhathakurta P, Rajeevan M (2008) Trends in the rainfall pattern over India. Int J Climatol 28(11):1453–1469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Karmakar N, Krishnamurti TN (2019) Characteristics of northward propagating intraseasonal oscillation in the Indian summer monsoon. Clim Dyn 52(3–4):1903–1916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kaskaoutis DG, Houssos EE, Goto D, Bartzokas A, Nastos PT, Sinha PR, Kharol SK, Kosmopoulos PG, Singh Takemura T (2014) Synoptic weather conditions and aerosol episodes over Indo-Gangetic Plains India. Clim Dyn 43(9–10):2313–2331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Krishnamurthy V, Shukla J (2000) Intraseasonal and interannual variability of rainfall over India. J Clim 13(24):4366–4377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Luo Y, Wu M, Ren F, Li J, Wong WK (2016) Synoptic situations of extreme hourly precipitation over China. J Clim 29(24):8703–8719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mishra SK, Sahan S, Salunke P (2017) Linkages between MJO and summer monsoon rainfall over India and surrounding region. Meteorol Atmos Phy 129(3):283–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Murari L, Nozawa T, Emori S, Harasawa H, Takahashi K, Kimoto M, Numaguti A (2001) Future climate change: Implications for Indian summer monsoon and its variability. Curr Sci 81(9):1196–1207Google Scholar
  12. Pai DS, Bhate J, Sreejith OP, Hatwar HR (2011) Impact of MJO on the intraseasonal variation of summer monsoon rainfall over India. Clim Dyn 36(1–2):41–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Parthasarathy B, Munot AA, Kothawale DR (1994) All-India monthly and seasonal rainfall series: 1871–1993. Theor Appl Climatol 49(4):217–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Singh M, Bhatla R (2018) Role of Madden–Julian oscillation in modulating monsoon retreat. Pure Appl Geophys. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Singh M, Bhatla R (2019) Modulation of active-break spell of Indian summer monsoon by Madden Julian Oscillation. J Earth Syst Sci 128(3):70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Singh N, Sontakke NA (2002) On climate fluctuations and environmental changes of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India. Clim Change 52:287–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Singh M, Bhatla R, Pattanaik DR (2017) An apparent relationship between Madden–Julian oscillation and the advance of Indian summer monsoon. Int J Climatol 37(4):1951–1960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Srivastava AK, Rajeevan M, Kshirsagar SR (2009) Development of a high resolution daily gridded temperature data set (1969–2005) for the Indian region. Atmos Sci Lett 10(4):249–254Google Scholar
  19. Wu M, Wu CC, Yen TH, Luo Y (2017) Synoptic analysis of extreme hourly precipitation in Taiwan during 2003–2012. Mon Weather Rev 145(12):5123–5140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Zheng Y, Xue M, Li B, Chen J, Tao Z (2016) Spatial characteristics of extreme rainfall over China with hourly through 24-hour accumulation periods based on national-level hourly rain gauge data. J Atm Sci 33(11):1218–1232CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Institute of ScienceBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.DST-Mahamana Centre of Excellence in Climate Change Research, Institute of Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  3. 3.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia

Personalised recommendations