• lightning in monsoon trough;
  • lightning as a proxy for the trough position;
  • lightning in Indian summer monsoon;
  • lightning during monsoon break period

[1] The location and shift in the position of the maximum lightning activity with respect to the position the of monsoon trough has been investigated in the region of 20°N–32°N and 75°E–95°E during the Indian summer monsoon seasons of 2002 and 2003 from the lightning imaging sensor (LIS) data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. The polynomial curve fitting the maximum lightning activity followed the position of the monsoon trough in both the normal monsoon and drought years. Observations of the maximal lightning activity in the TRMM-LIS data collected during a period of 13 years, from 1998 to 2010, confirm these findings in the monsoon season. When the seasonal position of the monsoon trough moved from the plains to the submontane region of the Himalayas during a monsoon break period, the polynomial fitting of the maximum lightning activity also moved from the central Indian plains to that region. An empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis is applied to two different data sets of precipitation and observed high lightning flash rates over the monsoon trough region for the period of 1995–2005. The first and second components, EOF1 and EOF2, of precipitation values are out of phase with those of the flash rates. Our results imply that deep electrified convective systems during monsoon periods are responsible for the lightning activity in the monsoon trough region and that the lightning activity in this region can be used as a proxy for the location and shift of the seasonal monsoon trough.