Sub-synoptic circulation variability in the Himalayan extreme precipitation event during June 2013

  • Ramesh K. VelloreEmail author
  • Jagat S. Bisht
  • Raghavan Krishnan
  • Umakanth Uppara
  • Giorgia Di Capua
  • Dim Coumou
Original Paper


This study investigates the sub-synoptic scale circulation aspects associated with the extreme rainfall event occurred over the North Indian state of Uttarakhand located in the western Himalayas (WH) during the 15–18 June 2013 period. A diagnosis based on hourly ERA5 reanalyzed circulation products archived on finer grids reveals that sustenance of heavy rains during the event period is supported by a propensity of cyclonic vorticity sources channeled toward the WH region through a narrow quasi-steady conduit in the lower troposphere from the ISM circulation. The equatorward segregating mesoscale potential vorticity (PV) structures from the quasi-stationary upper level PV anomaly (trough) during the event administered two pathways for vorticity sources. The first pathway is from the base of the trough culminating into longer horizontal conduit path from the western Arabian Sea, lending perpetual cyclonic vorticity support to the ISM environment. The second pathway is from the right flank of the trough, which promotes sustained environment of deeper mesoscale convergence zone, potentially unstable atmosphere and strong ascent over the Uttarakhand region. The convergence zone is potentially viewed as a region for strong monsoon and extratropical circulation interactions to occur on finer horizontal scales of motion, where significant vertical synchronization of positive PV advection is realized during the 16–17 June 2013 period. In addition to orographic precipitation enhancements, deeper advective synchronization noticed at sub-synoptic time periods is accredited to the nearly doubling 24-h rainfall amounts in the foothill region of Uttarakhand during the event period. The ERA5 diagnosed diabatic heating additionally indicates that precipitating systems at higher (foothill) elevations contribute to upper (lower) tropospheric heat sources.



The authors acknowledge The Director, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, India, for the encouragement and support for this work. We thank the anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments. This work is carried out under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India—Belmont Project Globally Observed Teleconnections and their role and representation in Hierarchies of Atmospheric Models (GOTHAM). The authors also acknowledge TRMM dataset archived and distributed by the Goddard Distributed Active Archive Center (, EUMETSAT for the METEOSAT-7 imagery datasets ( and the fifth-generation of ECMWF atmospheric reanalyzes (ERA5) products obtained from the Copernicus Climate Change Service Climate Data Store (CDS; Utilization of high performance computing facility at IITM for processing the datasets is acknowledged.


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR)Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM)PuneIndia
  2. 2.Research and Development Centre for Global ChangeJapan Agency for Marine Earth Science TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Environmental StudiesVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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