Climate Dynamics

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 2049-2065

First online:

North Indian heavy rainfall event during June 2013: diagnostics and extended range prediction

  • Susmitha JosephAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
  • , A. K. SahaiAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Email author 
  • , S. SharmilaAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
  • , S. AbhilashAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
  • , N. BorahAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
  • , R. ChattopadhyayAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
  • , P. A. PillaiAffiliated withIndian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
  • , M. RajeevanAffiliated withEarth System Science Organization/Ministry of Earth Sciences
  • , Arun KumarAffiliated withNational Center for Environmental Prediction

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The Indian summer monsoon of 2013 covered the entire country by 16 June, one month earlier than its normal date. Around that period, heavy rainfall was experienced in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, which is situated on the southern slope of Himalayan Ranges. The heavy rainfall and associated landslides caused serious damages and claimed many lives. This study investigates the scientific rationale behind the incidence of the extreme rainfall event in the backdrop of large scale monsoon environment. It is found that a monsoonal low pressure system that provided increased low level convergence and abundant moisture, and a midlatitude westerly trough that generated strong upper level divergence, interacted with each other and helped monsoon to cover the entire country and facilitated the occurrence of the heavy rainfall event in the orographic region. The study also examines the skill of an ensemble prediction system (EPS) in predicting the Uttarakhand event on extended range time scale. The EPS is implemented on both high (T382) and low (T126) resolution versions of the coupled general circulation model CFSv2. Although the models predicted the event 10–12 days in advance, they failed to predict the midlatitude influence on the event. Possible reasons for the same are also discussed. In both resolutions of the model, the event was triggered by the generation and northwestward movement of a low pressure system developed over the Bay of Bengal. The study advocates the usefulness of high resolution models in predicting extreme events.


Indian summer monsoon Extreme events Ensemble prediction system Climate forecast system model