Indian summer monsoon rainfall and its link with ENSO and Indian Ocean climate indices

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Abstract

We examine the relationship between the state of the equatorial Indian Ocean, ENSO, and the Indian summer monsoon rainfall using data from 1881 to 1998. The zonal wind anomalies and SST anomaly gradient over the equatorial Indian Ocean are used as indices that represent the condition of the Indian Ocean. Although the index defined by the zonal wind anomalies correlates poorly with Indian summer monsoon rainfall, the linear reconstruction of Indian summer monsoon rainfall on the basis of a multiple regression from the NINO3 and this wind index better specifies the Indian summer monsoon rainfall than the regression with only NINO3. Using contingency tables, we find that the negative association between the categories of Indian summer monsoon rainfall and the wind index is significant during warm years (El Niño) but not during cold years (La Niña). Composite maps of land precipitation also indicate that this relationship is significant during El Niño events. We conclude that there is a significant negative association between Indian summer monsoon rainfall and the zonal wind anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean during El Niño events. A similar investigation of the relationship between the SST index and Indian summer monsoon rainfall does not reveal a significant association. Copyright © 2006 Royal Meteorological Society.

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