Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 131, Issue 3–4, pp 1235–1247 | Cite as

Indian summer monsoon rainfall variability during 2014 and 2015 and associated Indo-Pacific upper ocean temperature patterns

  • Rashmi Kakatkar
  • C. GnanaseelanEmail author
  • J. S. Chowdary
  • Anant Parekh
  • J. S. Deepa
Original Paper


In this study, factors responsible for the deficit Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) rainfall in 2014 and 2015 and the ability of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology-Global Ocean Data Assimilation System (IITM-GODAS) in representing the oceanic features are examined. IITM-GODAS has been used to provide initial conditions for seasonal forecast in India during 2014 and 2015. The years 2014 and 2015 witnessed deficit ISM rainfall but were evolved from two entirely different preconditions over Pacific. This raises concern over the present understanding of the role of Pacific Ocean on ISM variability. Analysis reveals that the mechanisms associated with the rainfall deficit over the Indian Subcontinent are different in the two years. It is found that remote forcing in summer of 2015 due to El Niño is mostly responsible for the deficit monsoon rainfall through changes in Walker circulation and large-scale subsidence. In the case of the summer of 2014, both local circulation with anomalous anticyclone over central India and intrusion of mid-latitude dry winds from north have contributed for the deficit rainfall. In addition to the above, Tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) sea surface temperature (SST) and remote forcing from Pacific Ocean also modulated the ISM rainfall. It is observed that Pacific SST warming has extended westward in 2014, making it a basin scale warming unlike the strong El Niño year 2015. The eastern equatorial Indian Ocean is anomalously warmer than west in summer of 2014, and vice versa in 2015. These differences in SST in both tropical Pacific and TIO have considerable impact on ISM rainfall in 2014 and 2015. The study reveals that initializing coupled forecast models with proper upper ocean temperature over the Indo-Pacific is therefore essential for improved model forecast. It is important to note that the IITM-GODAS which assimilates only array for real-time geostrophic oceanography (ARGO) temperature and salinity profiles could capture most of the observed surface and subsurface temperature variations from early spring to summer during the years 2014 and 2015 over the Indo-Pacific region. This study highlights the importance of maintaining observing systems such as ARGO for accurate monsoon forecast.



We acknowledge Director, ESSO-IITM for the support. CMAP precipitation data and NOAA high-resolution SST data is made available by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, in their Web site at We acknowledge NCMRWF for forcing data and Coriolis for ARGO data. The Had-EN4 data is available through Initial conditions for CFSv2 are obtained from NCEP. We acknowledge R. Phani, Raju Mandal, P. Sreenivas and R.H. Kripalani for scientific discussion. Figures are prepared using PyFerret, grads and Origin.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rashmi Kakatkar
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Gnanaseelan
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. S. Chowdary
    • 1
  • Anant Parekh
    • 1
  • J. S. Deepa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric and Space SciencesSavitribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia

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