Climate Dynamics

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 643–660

Influence of the Eurasian snow cover on the Indian summer monsoon variability in observed climatologies and CMIP3 simulations


DOI: 10.1007/s00382-009-0565-0

Cite this article as:
Peings, Y. & Douville, H. Clim Dyn (2010) 34: 643. doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0565-0


The present study is aimed at revisiting the possible influence of the winter/spring Eurasian snow cover on the subsequent Indian summer precipitation using several statistical tools including a maximum covariance analysis. The snow–monsoon relationship is explored using both satellite observations of snow cover and in situ measurements of snow depth, but also a subset of global coupled ocean–atmosphere simulations from the phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) database. In keeping with former studies, the observations suggest a link between an east–west snow dipole over Eurasia and the Indian summer monsoon precipitation. However, our results indicate that this relationship is neither statistically significant nor stationary over the last 40 years. Moreover, the strongest signal appears over eastern Eurasia and is not consistent with the Blanford hypothesis whereby more snow should lead to a weaker monsoon. The twentieth century CMIP3 simulations provide longer timeseries to look for robust snow–monsoon relationships. The maximum covariance analysis indicates that some models do show an apparent influence of the Eurasian snow cover on the Indian summer monsoon precipitation, but the patterns are not the same as in the observations. Moreover, the apparent snow–monsoon relationship generally denotes a too strong El Niño-Southern Oscillation teleconnection with both winter snow cover and summer monsoon rainfall rather than a direct influence of the Eurasian snow cover on the Indian monsoon.


Indian monsoon Eurasian snow cover Interannual variability Teleconnections CMIP3 simulations 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRM-GAME, MétéoFrance-CNRSToulouseFrance
  2. 2.CNRM/GMGEC/UDCToulouse Cedex 01France

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