Climate Dynamics

, Volume 48, Issue 5–6, pp 1447–1465 | Cite as

An assessment of Indian monsoon seasonal forecasts and mechanisms underlying monsoon interannual variability in the Met Office GloSea5-GC2 system

  • Stephanie J. Johnson
  • Andrew Turner
  • Steven Woolnough
  • Gill Martin
  • Craig MacLachlan


We assess Indian summer monsoon seasonal forecasts in GloSea5-GC2, the Met Office fully coupled subseasonal to seasonal ensemble forecasting system. Using several metrics, GloSea5-GC2 shows similar skill to other state-of-the-art seasonal forecast systems. The prediction skill of the large-scale South Asian monsoon circulation is higher than that of Indian monsoon rainfall. Using multiple linear regression analysis we evaluate relationships between Indian monsoon rainfall and five possible drivers of monsoon interannual variability. Over the time period studied (1992–2011), the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) are the most important of these drivers in both observations and GloSea5-GC2. Our analysis indicates that ENSO and its teleconnection with Indian rainfall are well represented in GloSea5-GC2. However, the relationship between the IOD and Indian rainfall anomalies is too weak in GloSea5-GC2, which may be limiting the prediction skill of the local monsoon circulation and Indian rainfall. We show that this weak relationship likely results from a coupled mean state bias that limits the impact of anomalous wind forcing on SST variability, resulting in erroneous IOD SST anomalies. Known difficulties in representing convective precipitation over India may also play a role. Since Indian rainfall responds weakly to the IOD, it responds more consistently to ENSO than in observations. Our assessment identifies specific coupled biases that are likely limiting GloSea5-GC2 Indian summer monsoon seasonal prediction skill, providing targets for model improvement.


Indian monsoon Seasonal forecasting Indian Ocean dipole 



S.J.J. would like to acknowledge Dr. Emanuel Dutra for his help accessing and understanding ERA-Interim/Land reanalysis data. S.J.J., A.G.T. and S.J.W. gratefully acknowledge the financial support given by the Earth System Science Organization, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India (Grant No. MM/SERP/Univ_Reading_UK/2013/INT-13, manuscript number MM/TURNER/RP/01) to conduct this research under Monsoon Mission. S.J.W. was supported by the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences Climate directorate, a Natural Environment Research Council collaboration under contract R8/H12/83/001. G.M.M. was supported by the Joint UK DECC/Defra Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme (GA01101).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie J. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew Turner
    • 1
  • Steven Woolnough
    • 1
  • Gill Martin
    • 3
  • Craig MacLachlan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Meteorology, National Centre for Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.ECMWFReadingUK
  3. 3.Met Office Hadley CentreExeterUK

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