Climate Dynamics

, Volume 21, Issue 7–8, pp 593–618 | Cite as

Sea surface temperature associations with the late Indian summer monsoon

  • P. TerrayEmail author
  • P. Delecluse
  • S. Labattu
  • L. Terray


Recent gridded and historical data are used in order to assess the relationships between interannual variability of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) and sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly patterns over the Indian and Pacific oceans. Interannual variability of ISM rainfall and dynamical indices for the traditional summer monsoon season (June–September) are strongly influenced by rainfall and circulation anomalies observed during August and September, or the late Indian summer monsoon (LISM). Anomalous monsoons are linked to well-defined LISM rainfall and large-scale circulation anomalies. The east-west Walker and local Hadley circulations fluctuate during the LISM of anomalous ISM years. LISM circulation is weakened and shifted eastward during weak ISM years. Therefore, we focus on the predictability of the LISM.

Strong (weak) (L)ISMs are preceded by significant positive (negative) SST anomalies in the southeastern subtropical Indian Ocean, off Australia, during boreal winter. These SST anomalies are mainly linked to south Indian Ocean dipole events, studied by Besera and Yamagata (2001) and to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. These SST anomalies are highly persistent and affect the northwestward translation of the Mascarene High from austral to boreal summer. The southeastward (northwestward) shift of this subtropical high associated with cold (warm) SST anomalies off Australia causes a weakening (strengthening) of the whole monsoon circulation through a modulation of the local Hadley cell during the LISM. Furthermore, it is suggested that the Mascarene High interacts with the underlying SST anomalies through a positive dynamical feedback mechanism, maintaining its anomalous position during the LISM. Our results also explain why a strong ISM is preceded by a transition in boreal spring from an El Niño to a La Niña state in the Pacific and vice versa. An El Niño event and the associated warm SST anomalies over the southeastern Indian Ocean during boreal winter may play a key role in the development of a strong ISM by strengthening the local Hadley circulation during the LISM. On the other hand, a developing La Niña event in boreal spring and summer may also enhance the east–west Walker circulation and the monsoon as demonstrated in many previous studies.


Indian Summer Monsoon Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall Southern Indian Ocean Indian Summer Monsoon Onset Western North Pacific Summer Monsoon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to A. Fischer and G. Reverdin for helpful comments and suggestions during the course of this research. Sebastien Masson provided graphical software for plotting the results. The comments of the editor (J.-C. Duplessy) and three anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Terray
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • P. Delecluse
    • 1
  • S. Labattu
    • 1
  • L. Terray
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Océanographie Dynamique et de Climatologie, Paris, France
  2. 2.Université Paris 7, Paris, France
  3. 3.CERFACS, Toulouse, France

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