pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 127, Issue 4, pp 669–693

Diagnosis of dominant forcing factors for large-scale vertical velocities during active and break phases of the monsoon

  • Kusuma G. Rao

DOI: 10.1007/BF00881751

Cite this article as:
Rao, K.G. PAGEOPH (1988) 127: 669. doi:10.1007/BF00881751


An attempt to diagnose the dominant forcings which drive the large-scale vertical velocities over the monsoon region has been made by computing the forcings like diabatic heating fields,etc. and the large-scale vertical velocities driven by these forcings for the contrasting periods of active and break monsoon situations; in order to understand the rainfall variability associated with them. Computation of diabatic heating fields show us that among different components of diabatic heating it is the convective heating that dominates at mid-tropospheric levels during an active monsoon period; whereas it is the sensible heating at the surface that is important during a break period. From vertical velocity calculations we infer that the prime differences in the large-scale vertical velocities seen throughout the depth of the atmosphere are due to the differences in the orders of convective heating; the maximum rate of latent heating being more than 10 degrees Kelvin per day during an active monsoon period; whereas during a break monsoon period it is of the order of 2 degrees Kelvin per day at mid-tropospheric levels. At low levels of the atmosphere, computations show that there is large-scale ascent occurring over a large spatial region, driven only by the dynamic forcing associated with vorticity and temperature advection during an active monsoon period. However, during a break monsoon period such large-scale spatial organization in rising motion is not seen. It is speculated that these differences in the low-level large-scale ascent might be causing differences in convective heating because the weaker the low level ascent, the lesser the convective instability which produces deep cumulus clouds and hence lesser the associated latent heat release. The forcings due to other components of diabatic heating, namely, the sensible heating and long wave radiative cooling do not influence the large-scale vertical velocities significantly.

Key words

Monsoon diabatic heating vertical velocity active break low-level convergence 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kusuma G. Rao
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Atmospheric SciencesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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