Month-to-month variability of Indian summer monsoon rainfall in 2016: role of the Indo-Pacific climatic conditions

  • Jasti S. Chowdary
  • G. Srinivas
  • Yan Du
  • K. Gopinath
  • C. Gnanaseelan
  • Anant Parekh
  • Prem Singh


Indian summer monsoon (ISM) rainfall during 2016 exhibited a prominent month-to-month fluctuations over India, with below normal rainfall in June and August and above normal rainfall in July. The factors determining the month-to-month fluctuations in ISM rainfall during 2016 are investigated with main focus on the Indo-Pacific climatic anomalies. Warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with super El Niño 2015 disappeared by early summer 2016 over the central and eastern Pacific. On the other hand, negative Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) like SST anomaly pattern over the equatorial Indian Ocean and anomalous anticyclonic circulation over the western North Pacific (WNP) are reported in summer 2016 concurrently with decaying El Niño/developing La Niña phase. Observations revealed that the low rainfall over central north India in June is due to moisture divergence caused by the westward extension of ridge corresponding to WNP anticyclone and subsidence induced by local Hadley cell partly related to negative IOD. Low level convergence of southeasterly wind from Bay of Bengal associated with weak WNP anticyclone and northwesterly wind corresponding to anticyclonic circulation over the northwest India remarkably contributed to positive rainfall in July over most of the Indian subcontinent. While reduced rainfall over the Indian subcontinent in August 2016 is associated with the anomalous moisture transport from ISM region to WNP region, in contrast to July, due to local cyclogenesis corroborated by number of tropical cyclones in the WNP. In addition to this, subsidence related to strong convection supported by cyclonic circulation over the WNP also resulted in low rainfall over the ISM region. Coupled General Circulation model sensitivity experiments confirmed that strong convective activities associated with cyclonic circulation over the WNP is primarily responsible for the observed negative ISM rainfall anomalies in August 2016. It is noted that the Indo-Western Pacific circulation anomalies in August 2016 are well predicted when the coupled model is initiated with initial conditions from end of July and beginning of August compared to May. This analysis suggests the importance of the WNP circulation in forcing strong sub-seasonal/month to month rainfall variations over India.


Indian summer monsoon rainfall El Niño Tropical cyclones Sea surface temperature Sub-seasonal variability 



We acknowledge the support from ESSO-IITM and MoES. Ferret is used for preparing manuscript figures. We thank the anonymous reviewers for the comments which helped us to improve the manuscript. Cyclone track information obtained from YD is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41525019) and the State Oceanic Administration of China (GASI-IPOVAI-02). The work is also supported by State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (LTO-OVFP NO. 1602).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasti S. Chowdary
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Srinivas
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yan Du
    • 2
  • K. Gopinath
    • 1
  • C. Gnanaseelan
    • 1
  • Anant Parekh
    • 1
  • Prem Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Tropical OceanographySouth China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Meteorology and OceanographyAndhra UniversityVisakhapatnamIndia

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