SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • monsoon depressions;
  • life period;
  • Indian Ocean Dipole

Abstract

A highlight of the 2006 boreal summer monsoon season was the enhanced activity of long-lived monsoon depressions and low-pressure systems (LPS) over the Indian region. Another important phenomenon during this period was the evolution of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (PIOD) event. Although previous studies have investigated the impact of PIOD on the large-scale monsoon response, their influence on monsoon LPS activity is not well understood. Based on detailed diagnostic analyses of monsoon LPS during 2006, as well as those associated with other PIOD events during 1958–2007, the present work addresses two specific issues concerning the roles of (a) PIOD-induced large-scale circulation changes and (b) internal feedbacks between latent heating and dynamics, in sustaining the monsoon LPS activity. The results show that PIOD conditions generally favour increased propensity of long-lived (>5 days) LPS with long westward tracks extending into northwest India. The average contribution of long-lived monsoon LPS to the total is found to be approximately 12% higher during PIOD episodes as compared to non-PIOD. The PIOD events showed two important large-scale elements conducive for enhancement of LPS activity: (a) strengthening of cross-equatorial moisture transport from south-eastern tropical Indian Ocean into the Bay of Bengal and (b) enrichment of barotropic instability of monsoon flow. Estimates of latent-heating profiles from TRMM-satellite products during the 2006 LPS showed heating in the mesoscale updrafts above 600 hPa with maximum approximately 400 hPa; while cooling prevailed in lower levels. Stratiform precipitation covered approximately 70–85% of rain area during the prolonged LPS; and the large-scale monsoon Hadley-type circulation was found to be intensified with strong mid-level inflows entering the stratiform rain region. The overall findings suggest that the PIOD-induced background circulation together with internal feedbacks between mesoscale convective systems and large-scale circulation can effectively enhance the longevity of monsoon LPS. These results should serve as important inputs for numerical weather forecasting of extreme rainfall events associated with the regional monsoon phenomenon. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society