Dynamics of “internal” interannual variability of the Indian summer monsoon in a GCM



[1] The poor predictability of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) appears to be due to the fact that a large fraction of interannual variability (IAV) is governed by unpredictable “internal” low frequency variations. Mechanisms responsible for the internal IAV of the monsoon have not been clearly identified. Here, an attempt has been made to gain insight regarding the origin of internal IAV of the seasonal (June–September, JJAS) mean rainfall from “internal” IAV of the ISM simulated by an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) driven by fixed annual cycle of sea surface temperature (SST). The underlying hypothesis that monsoon ISOs are responsible for internal IAV of the ISM is tested. The spatial and temporal characteristics of simulated summer intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs) are found to be in good agreement with those observed. A long integration with the AGCM forced with observed SST, shows that ISO activity over the Asian monsoon region is not modulated by the observed SST variations. The internal IAV of ISM, therefore, appears to be decoupled from external IAV. Hence, insight gained from this study may be useful in understanding the observed internal IAV of ISM. The spatial structure of the ISOs has a significant projection on the spatial structure of the seasonal mean and a common spatial mode governs both intraseasonal and interannual variability. Statistical average of ISO anomalies over the season (seasonal ISO bias) strengthens or weakens the seasonal mean. It is shown that interannual anomalies of seasonal mean are closely related to the seasonal mean of intraseasonal anomalies and explain about 50% of the IAV of the seasonal mean. The seasonal mean ISO bias arises partly due to the broad-band nature of the ISO spectrum allowing the time series to be aperiodic over the season and partly due to a non-linear process where the amplitude of ISO activity is proportional to the seasonal bias of ISO anomalies. The later relation is a manifestation of the binomial character of rainfall time series. The remaining 50% of the IAV may arise due to land-surface processes, interaction between high frequency variability and ISOs, etc.