Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 11–12, pp 4347–4364 | Cite as

Factors affecting the inter-annual to centennial timescale variability of Indian summer monsoon rainfall

  • Abdul Malik
  • Stefan Brönnimann


The Modes of Ocean Variability (MOV) namely Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can have significant impacts on Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall (ISMR) on different timescales. The timescales at which these MOV interacts with ISMR and the factors which may perturb their relationship with ISMR need to be investigated. We employ De-trended Cross-Correlation Analysis (DCCA), and De-trended Partial-Cross-Correlation Analysis (DPCCA) to study the timescales of interaction of ISMR with AMO, PDO, and ENSO using observational dataset (AD 1854–1999), and atmosphere–ocean–chemistry climate model simulations with SOCOL-MPIOM (AD 1600–1999). Further, this study uses De-trended Semi-Partial Cross-Correlation Analysis (DSPCCA) to address the relation between solar variability and the ISMR. We find statistically significant evidence of intrinsic correlations of ISMR with AMO, PDO, and ENSO on different timescales, consistent between model simulations and observations. However, the model fails to capture modulation in intrinsic relationship between ISRM and MOV due to external signals. Our analysis indicates that AMO is a potential source of non-stationary relationship between ISMR and ENSO. Furthermore, the pattern of correlation between ISMR and Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) is inconsistent between observations and model simulations. The observational dataset indicates statistically insignificant negative intrinsic correlation between ISMR and TSI on decadal-to-centennial timescales. This statistically insignificant negative intrinsic correlation is transformed to statistically significant positive extrinsic by AMO on 61–86-year timescale. We propose a new mechanism for Sun–monsoon connection which operates through AMO by changes in summer (June–September; JJAS) meridional gradient of tropospheric temperatures (ΔTTJJAS). There is a negative (positive) intrinsic correlation between ΔTTJJAS (AMO) and TSI. The negative intrinsic correlation between ΔTTJJAS and TSI indicates that high (low) solar activity weakens (strengthens) the meridional gradient of tropospheric temperature during the summer monsoon season and subsequently the weak (strong) ΔTTJJAS decreases (increases) the ISMR. However, the presence of AMO transforms the negative intrinsic relation between ΔTTJJAS and TSI into positive extrinsic and strengthens the ISMR. We conclude that the positive relation between ISMR and solar activity, as found by other authors, is mainly due to the effect of AMO on ISMR.


Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation Pacific decadal oscillation El Niño southern oscillation Solar activity Indian summer monsoon De-trended semi-partial-cross-correlation analysis 



We acknowledge support from the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students for the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship (ESKAS No. 2013.0516) for the academic year(s) 2013-16/17, SNF Project FUPSOL2 (CRSII2-147659), and the EC FP7 Project ERA-CLIM2: 607029. We are grateful to NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA ( for providing ERSST dataset.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oeschger Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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