• ENSO;
  • monsoon;
  • teleconnection

[1] The Indian monsoon interannual variability is modulated by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with a drier than normal monsoon season usually preceding peak El Niño conditions, and vice versa for La Niña phase. Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies, however, are not the only player. Building upon our recent discovery that atmospheric teleconnections between the tropical Atlantic and the Indian basin contributed to the weakening of the ENSO-monsoon anticorrelation during the '80s and '90s, we investigate the role of south equatorial Atlantic SSTs in forcing the Indian monsoon rainfall (IMR). Using two observational data sets and two ensembles of simulations we show that the residual in the IMR time series for observed and modeled data, obtained by subtracting the ENSO-forced component of the IMR that is linearly related to the NINO34 index, is significantly correlated with south equatorial Atlantic SSTs. Our results have important implications for seasonal forecast efforts.