Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 170, Issue 12, pp 2305–2328 | Cite as

Observed and Forecasted Intraseasonal Activity of Southwest Monsoon Rainfall over India During 2010, 2011 and 2012

  • D. R. PattanaikEmail author
  • L. S. Rathore
  • Arun Kumar


The monsoon seasons of 2010 and 2011, with almost identical seasonal total rainfall over India from June to September, are associated with slightly different patterns of intraseasonal rainfall fluctuations. Similarly, the year 2012, with relatively less rainfall compared to 2010 and 2011, also witnessed different intraseasonal rainfall fluctuations, leading to drought-like situations over some parts of the country. The present article discusses the forecasting aspect of monsoon activity over India during these 3 years on an extended range time scale (up to 3 weeks) by using the multimodel ensemble (MME), based on operational coupled model outputs from the ECMWF monthly forecasting system and the NCEP’s Climate Forecast System (CFS). The average correlation coefficient (CC) of weekly observed all-India rainfall (AIR) and the corresponding MME forecast AIR is found to be significant, above the 98 % level up to 2 weeks (up to 18 days) with a slight positive CC for the week 3 (days 19–25) forecast. However, like the variation of observed intraseasonal rainfall fluctuations during 2010, 2011 and 2012 monsoon seasons, the MME forecast skills of weekly AIR are also found to be different from one another, with the 2012 monsoon season indicating significant CC (above 99 % level) up to week 2 (12–18 days), and also a comparatively higher CC (0.45) during the week 3 forecast (days 19–25). The average CC between observed and forecasted weekly AIR rainfall over four homogeneous regions of India is found to be the lowest over the southern peninsula of India (SPI), and northeast India (NEI) is found to be significant only for the week 1 (days 5–11) forecast. However, the CC is found to be significant over northwest India (NWI) and central India (CEI), at least above the 90 % level up to 18 days, with NWI having slightly better skill compared to the CEI. For the individual monsoon seasons of 2010, 2011 and 2012, there is some variation in CC and other skill scores over the four homogeneous regions. Thus the slight variations in the characteristics of intraseasonal monsoon rainfall over India is associated with variations in predictive skill of the coupled models and the MME-based predictions of intraseasonal monsoon fluctuations for 2–3 weeks, providing encouraging results. The MME forecast in 2010 is also able to provide useful guidance, well in advance, about an active September associated with a delayed withdrawal of the monsoon and also the heavy rainfall over north Pakistan.


Indian monsoon ECMWF monthly forecast NCEP CFS intraseasonal oscillation extended range prediction active-break cycle skill scores 



We sincerely acknowledge the ECMWF and NCEP for providing the real time forecast products of their coupled models, which have been used for preparing the multimodel ensemble forecast of Indian monsoon rainfall during the southwest monsoon seasons. The authors are also thankful to the National Climate Centre (NCC) for making available the daily gridded rainfall data used in the present study. The authors are very much thankful to the anonymous reviewers for providing very useful suggestions, which helped a lot in improving the quality of the paper.


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© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.India Meteorological DepartmentNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Climate Prediction Centre (CPC), NOAA/NWS/NCEPCollege ParkUSA

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