Bay of Bengal branch of Indian summer monsoon and its association with spatial distribution of rainfall patterns over India

  • Nitesh Sinha
  • Rajib Chattopadhyay
  • S. Chakraborty
Original Paper


Indian summer monsoon rainfall is characterized by a considerable variability on the spatial and temporal scale, though the standard deviation of rainfall on the temporal scale is much smaller (ca. 10% of annual long-term mean) compared with that of the spatial scale. It is known that the seasonal rainfall amplitude over India as well as the statistical properties of the subseasonal variability is strongly linked to the Pacific teleconnection on interannual timescales, such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and La Niña, and the teleconnection is primarily arising from central and eastern Pacific Ocean. But, the west Pacific controls on the southwest monsoonal flow, and in turn, the modulation of rainfall variability in the subseasonal scale by this low-frequency seasonal to interannual background over India is poorly understood. Here, we examine the moisture pathways by which the spatial pattern of rainfall variability in the subseasonal scale is envisaged to be arising due to the interplay between the Bay of Bengal (BoB) summer monsoon circulation and the South China Sea (SCS) moisture dynamics under different background conditions provided by ENSO or the subseasonal movement of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). We observe that the south BoB branch of the summer monsoon could occasionally extend up to 120° E in the SCS and reverse back to Indian mainland. We propose a mechanism by which the south BoB branch interacts with the SCS (viz. western Pacific) atmospheric system, thereby facilitating a pathway of the west Pacific moisture intrusion into the Indian subcontinent. The study concludes that the changes in surface temperature/pressure spatial pattern between India and SCS region play an important role in the distribution of the rainfall. In this study, for the first time, the life cycle of south Bay monsoon flow and its interaction with the SCS are discussed, likely to warrant special attention for modelers trying to understand the spatial distribution of rainfall over India.



The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune (IITM), is fully supported by the Earth System Science Organization of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India. The authors thank the Director of IITM for providing support and encouragement to carry out this research. We also thank Jyoti Jadhav for her comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. The figures are prepared using PyFerret.

Supplementary material

704_2018_2709_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (8.1 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 8249 kb)


  1. Achuthavarier D, Krishnamurthy V, Kirtman BP, Huang B (2012) Role of the Indian Ocean in the ENSO– Indian summer monsoon teleconnection in the NCEP Climate Forecast System. J Clim 25:2490–2508. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Chang A et al (2003) The version-2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979-present). J Hydrometeorol 4:1147–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allan R, Ansell T (2006) A new globally complete monthly historical gridded mean sea level pressure dataset (HadSLP2): 1850-2004. J Clim 19:5816–5842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhat GS, co-authors (2001) BOBMEX - the Bay of Bengal monsoon experiment. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 82:2217–2243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chakraborty S, Sinha N, Chattopadhyay R, Sengupta S, Mohan PM, Datye A (2016) Atmospheric controls on the precipitation isotopes over the Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal. Sci Rep 6:19555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chattopadhyay R, Phani R, Sabeerali CT, Dhakate AR, Salunke KD, Mahapatra S, Rao AS, Goswami BN (2015) Influence of extra-tropical sea surface temperature on the Indian summer monsoon: an unexplored source of seasonal predictability. Q J R Meteorol Soc 141:2760–2775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chattopadhyay R, Rao SA, Sabeerali CT, George G, Rao DN, Dhakate A, Salunke K (2016) Large-scale teleconnection patterns of Indian summer monsoon as revealed by CFSv2 retrospective seasonal forecast runs. Int J Climatol 36:3297–3313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dansgaard W (1964) Stable isotopes in precipitation. Tellus 16:436–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Das PK (1968) The monsoons. National Book Trust, New Delhi, pp 225–229Google Scholar
  10. Dee DP, Uppala SM, Simmons AJ et al (2011) The ERA-interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Q J R Meteorol Soc 137:553–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fadnavis S, Chattopadhyay R (2017) Linkages of subtropical stratospheric intraseasonal intrusions with Indian summer monsoon deficit rainfall. J Clim 30:5083–5095. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gadgil S (2000) Monsoon-ocean coupling. Curr Sci 78:309–323Google Scholar
  13. Gao RZ, Zhou FX, Fang WD (2000) SST intraseasonal oscillation in the SCS and atmospheric forcing system. Chin J Oceanol Liminol 18:289–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gill EC, Rajagopalan B, Molnar P (2015) Subseasonal variations in spatial signatures of ENSO on the Indian summer monsoon from 1901 to 2009. J Geophys Res Atmos 120:8165–8185. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gimeno L, Stohl A, Trigo RM, Dominguez F, Yoshimura K, Yu L, Drumond A, Durán-Quesada AM, Nieto R (2012) Oceanic and terrestrial sources of continental precipitation. Rev Geophys 50:RG4003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goswami BN (1987) A mechanism for the west northwest movement of the monsoon depressions. Nature 326:376–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goswami BN (1994) Dynamical predictability of seasonal monsoon rainfall: problems and prospects. Proc Indian Natl Sci Acad 60:101–120Google Scholar
  18. Goswami BN (1997) Chaos and predictability of the Indian summer monsoon. Pramana J Phys 48(2):719–736. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goswami BN (2012) South Asian monsoon. In W. K. M. Lau, D. Waliser (Eds.), Intraseasonal variability in the atmosphere-ocean climate system (2d ed., pp. 21–72). Chichester: Springer-PraxisGoogle Scholar
  20. Goswami BN, Ajay Mohan RS (2001) Intraseasonal oscillations and interannual variability of the Indian summer monsoon. J Clim 14:1180–1198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goswami BN, Xavier PK (2005) Dynamics of “internal” interannual variability of the Indian summer monsoon in a GCM. J Geophys Res 110:D24104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goswami BN, Krishnamurthy V, Annamalai H (1999) A broad scale circulation index for the interannual variability of the Indian summer monsoon. Q J R Meteorol Soc 125:611–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guhathakurta P, Rajeevan M (2007) Trends in the rainfall pattern over India. Int J Climatol 28:1453–1469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hendon HH, Glick J (1997) Intraseasonal air-sea interaction in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. J Clim 10:647–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Joseph S, Sahai AK, Chattopadhyay R, Goswami BN (2011) Can El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events modulate intraseasonal oscillations of Indian summer monsoon? J Geophys Res 116:D20123. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ju J, Slingo JM (1995) The Asian summer monsoon and ENSO. Q J R Meteorol Soc 106:447–462Google Scholar
  27. Kalnay M, Kanamitsu M et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kawamura R (1998) A possible mechanism of the Asian summer monsoon-ENSO coupling. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 76:1009–1027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kawamura R, Matsumura T, Iizuka S (2001) Role of equatorially asymmetric sea surface temperature anomalies in the Indian Ocean in the Asian summer monsoon and El Niño-Southern Oscillation coupling. J Geophys Res 106:4681–4693. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Koteswaram P, Rao NSB (1963) Formation and structure of Indian summer monsoon depressions. Aust Meteorol Mag 41:62–75Google Scholar
  31. Krishna Kumar K, Hoerling M, Rajagopalan B (2005) Advancing dynamical prediction of Indian monsoon rainfall. Geophys Res Lett 32:L08704. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Krishna Kumar K, Balaji R, Hoerling M et al (2006) Unraveling the mystery of Indian monsoon failure during El Niño. Science 314:115–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krishnamurthy V, Shukla J (2000) Intraseasonal and interannual variability of rainfall over India. J Clim 13:4366–4377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krishnan R, Sugi M (2003) Pacific decadal oscillation and variability of the Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Clim Dyn 21:233–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Krishnan R, Ramesh KV, Samala BK, Meyers G, Slingo JM, Fennessy MJ (2006) Indian Ocean–monsoon coupled interactions and impending monsoon droughts. Geophys Res Lett 33:L08711. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kumar B, Rai SP, Saravana Kumar U et al (2010) Isotopic characteristics of Indian precipitation. Water Resour Res 46:W12548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kutzbach G (1987) Concepts of monsoon physics in historical perspective: The Indian monsoon (seventeenth to early twentieth century). Monsoons, J. S. Fein and P. L. Stephens, (Eds)., John Wiley & Sons, 159–210.Google Scholar
  38. Meehl GA (1987) The annual cycle and interannual variability in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Mon Weather Rev 115:27–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morice CP, Kennedy JJ, Rayner NA, Jones PD (2012) Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: the HadCRUT4 dataset. J Geophys Res 117:D08101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mujumdar M, Sooraj KP, Krishnan R, Preethi B, Joshi MK, Varikoden H, Singh BB, Rajeevan M (2017) Anomalous convective activity over sub-tropical east Pacific during 2015 and associated boreal summer monsoon teleconnections. Clim Dyn 48:4081–4091. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Neena JM, Suhas E, Goswami BN (2011) Leading role of internal dynamics in the 2009 Indian summer monsoon drought. J Geophys Res 116:D13103. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Onogi K, others (2007) The JRA-25 reanalysis. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 85(3):369–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pai DS, Rajeevan M (2009) Summer monsoon onset over Kerala: new definition and prediction. J Earth Syst Sci 118:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pfahl S, Wernli H (2009) Lagrangian simulations of stable isotopes in water vapor: an evaluation of non-equilibrium fractionation in the Craig-Gordon model. J Geophys Res 114:D20108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rajeevan M, Gadgil S, Bhate J (2010) Active and break spells of the Indian summer monsoon. J Earth Sys Sci 119:229–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rao YP (1976) Southwest monsoon. Meteorological Monogr, Synoptic Meteorol No. 1/1976, Indian Meteorological Department, Delhi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  47. Rasmusson EM, Carpenter TH (1982) Variations in tropical sea surface temperature and surface wind field associated with the Southern Oscillation/El Niño. Mon Weather Rev 110:354–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shinoda T, Hendon HH (1998) Mixed layer modeling of intraseasonal variability in the tropical western Pacific and Indian Oceans. J Clim 11:2668–2685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sikka DR, Dixit CM (1972) A study of satellite observed cloudiness over the equatorial Indian Ocean and India during the southwest monsoon season. J Mar Biol Assoc India 14:805–818Google Scholar
  50. Sikka DR, Gadgil S (1980) On the maximum cloud zone and the ITCZ over India longitude during the southwest monsoon. Mon Weather Rev 108:1840–1853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sinha N, Chakraborty S, Chattopadhyay R et al (2018) Isotopic studies of rainfall and its reconstruction using speleothems from the Indian subcontinent. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Atmospheric and Space Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, Maharashtra, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  52. Sodemann H, Masson-Delmotte V, Schwierz C, Vinther BM, Wernli H (2008) Interannual variability of Greenland winter precipitation sources: 2. Effects of North Atlantic Oscillation variability on stable isotopes in precipitation. J Geophys Res 113:D12111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stein AF, Draxler RR, Rolph GD, Stunder BJB, Cohen MD, Ngan F (2015) NOAA’s HYSPLIT atmospheric transport and dispersion modelling system. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 96(12):2059–2077CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Trenberth KE, Stepaniak DP, Caron JM (2000) The global monsoon as seen through the divergent atmospheric circulation. J Clim 13:3969–3993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Webster PJ, Yang S (1992) Monsoon and ENSO: selectively interactive systems. Q J R Meteorol Soc 118:877–926CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wu R, Kirtman BP (2004) Impacts of the Indian Ocean on the Indian summer monsoon–ENSO relationship. J Clim 17:3037–3054CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yang S, Lau KM (1998) Influence of sea surface temperature and ground wetness on Asian summer monsoon. J Clim 11:3230–3246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yasunari T (1979) Cloudiness fluctuations associated with the northern hemisphere summer monsoon. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 57:227–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yasunari T, Seki Y (1992) Role of the Asian monsoon on the interannual variability of the global climate system. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 70:177–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zhou FX, Ding J, Yu SY (1995) The intraseasonal oscillation of sea surface temperature in the South China Sea (in Chinese). J Ocean Univ Qingdao 25:1–6Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Climate Change ResearchIndian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric and Space ScienceSavitribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia

Personalised recommendations