Climate Dynamics

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 573–585 | Cite as

A reconstructed dynamic Indian monsoon index extended back to 1880

  • Tianjun Zhou
  • Stefan Brönnimann
  • Thomas Griesser
  • Andreas M. Fischer
  • Liwei Zou


The authors present a reconstruction of summer (June–July–August) mean dynamic Indian monsoon index (DIMI) back to 1880 based on a large number of historical surface observation data as well as information from the upper air data. The reconstruction shows a satisfying skill in terms of both the value of reduction of error and an evaluation against other independent monsoon indices. The skill of reconstruction increases over time with more predictor data (in particular upper-level data) becoming available. A comparison with the observed all Indian summer monsoon rainfall index (AIRI) shows a high consistence in both inter-decadal and inter-annual variability. The reconstruction shows stronger than normal monsoon during the 1880s, 1915–1925 (around 1920) and 1930–1945 (around 1940) as the AIRI. The El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)—monsoon relationship is reasonably captured in the reconstruction. Powers concentrating within quasi-biennial band stand out in the reconstruction as well as in the AIRI. A comparison of the reconstruction against an atmospheric general circulation model simulation with specified SST and external forcing agents spanning 1901–1999 indicates a slightly higher reproducibility of monsoon circulation than monsoon rainfall in terms of interannual variability. The relationship between the Asian continent warming and the ENSO–monsoon connection is also discussed by using the new dynamic index.


Dynamic Indian monsoon index Reconstruction Interdecadal and interannual variability 



This work was supported by the Sino-Swiss Cooperation Research Fellowship project entitled “Detecting Climate Change over Asian-Australian Monsoon domain during the last century by using reconstructed data and climate model”. T. Zhou acknowledges funding from the National Basic Research Program of China (2006CB403603), the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant Nos. 40523001, 40625014 and 40821092. SB acknowledges funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (“Past Climate Variability from an Upper-Level perspective”) and from an ETH research (TH) grant CASTRO. The comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers are highly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tianjun Zhou
    • 1
  • Stefan Brönnimann
    • 2
  • Thomas Griesser
    • 2
  • Andreas M. Fischer
    • 2
  • Liwei Zou
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.LASG, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute for Atmospheric and Climate ScienceETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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