Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 125, Issue 3–4, pp 509–520 | Cite as

Determination of summer monsoon onset and its related large-scale circulation characteristics over Pakistan

  • M. LatifEmail author
  • F. S. Syed
Original Paper


The onset of summer monsoon over the Core Monsoon Region of Pakistan (CMRP) has been investigated in this study using observational daily rainfall and Precipitable Water (PW) data sets. An objective criterion is proposed to define monsoon onset dates by employing Precipitation Index and Normalized Precipitable Water Index techniques. The climatological mean summer monsoon onset dates over CMRP based on daily rainfall data sets are observed to be 1 July and 30 June in the station and gridded data sets, respectively. Whereas the daily PW-based climatological mean onset date is 30 June. The year-wise onset dates determined through station and gridded rainfall data sets are very similar but these dates differ in case of PW-based onsets. The evolution of large-scale circulation anomalies and thermodynamic structure leading monsoon onset over Pakistan shows that a strong positive temperature and geopotential height anomalies appear over the northwestern part of the core region in the upper atmosphere. This warm geopotential height anomaly gets strengthen as the monsoon onset approaches. The temperature anomalies are barotropic whereas the geopotential height anomalies are baroclinic with the presence of low level anticyclone over the Tibetan Plateau. A moisture convergence zone along the foothill of Himalayas and low level moisture convergence zone over the north Arabian Sea set the stage for the moisture carrying monsoon winds to blow inland towards CMRP. The moisture is mainly supplied from the Arabian Sea, as the low pressure system approaches CMRP from the Bay of Bengal.


Onset Date Monsoon Onset Geopotential Height Anomaly South Asian Summer Monsoon Summer Monsoon Onset 
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.



The authors are thankful to Prof. Xubin Zeng from University of Arizona for providing valuable information during this study. The PW data was obtained from NASA Langley research center archived at Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC). The authors acknowledge and thank NOAA for providing integrated OLR daily data and NCEP-NCAR for temperature, geopotential height, winds, and specific humidity daily data sets. We also acknowledge PMD, Islamabad, for providing daily station rainfall data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MeteorologyCOMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyIslamabadPakistan

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