Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 11–12, pp 4149–4169 | Cite as

The role of potential vorticity anomalies in the Somali Jet on Indian Summer Monsoon Intraseasonal Variability

  • P. Rai
  • M. Joshi
  • A. P. Dimri
  • A. G. Turner


The climate of the Indian subcontinent is dominated by rainfall arising from the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) during June to September. Intraseasonal variability during the monsoon is characterized by periods of heavy rainfall interspersed by drier periods, known as active and break events respectively. Understanding and predicting such events is of vital importance for forecasting human impacts such as water resources. The Somali Jet is a key regional feature of the monsoon circulation. In the present study, we find that the spatial structure of Somali Jet potential vorticity (PV) anomalies varies considerably during active and break periods. Analysis of these anomalies shows a mechanism whereby sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies propagate north/northwestwards through the Arabian Sea, caused by a positive feedback loop joining anomalies in SST, convection, modification of PV by diabatic heating and mixing in the atmospheric boundary layer, wind-stress curl, and ocean upwelling processes. The feedback mechanism is consistent with observed variability in the coupled ocean–atmosphere system on timescales of approximately 20 days. This research suggests that better understanding and prediction of monsoon intraseasonal variability in the South Asian monsoon may be gained by analysis of the day-to-day dynamical evolution of PV in the Somali Jet.


Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) Somali Jet Potential vorticity Wind-stress curl Intraseasonal variability 



The first author acknowledges Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) funding for Junior Research Fellowship. A. G. Turner is supported in this work by the core grant to the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and as part of the NERC-funded INCOMPASS project NE/L01386X/1. M. Joshi acknowledges support of UK-NERC project NE/L013827/1 (BoBBLE: Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Rai
    • 1
  • M. Joshi
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. P. Dimri
    • 1
  • A. G. Turner
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  3. 3.Climatic Research UnitUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  4. 4.NCAS-Climate and Department of MeteorologyUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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