Climate Dynamics

, Volume 40, Issue 7–8, pp 1591–1610 | Cite as

Aerosol, clouds and rainfall: inter-annual and regional variations over India



Inter-annual and regional variations in aerosol and cloud characteristics, water vapor and rainfall over six homogeneous rainfall zones in India during the core monsoon month of July from 2000 to 2010, and their correlations are analyzed. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) and aerosol absorbing index (AAI) in July 2002, a drought year are higher over India when compared to normal monsoon years. The drier conditions that existed due to deficient rainfall in July 2002 could be responsible for raising more dust and smoke resulting in higher AODs over India. In addition, over India precipitation is not uniform and large-scale interruptions occur during the monsoon season. During these interruptions aerosols can build up over a region and contribute to an increase in AODs. This finding is supported by the occurrence of higher anomalies in AOD, AAI and rainfall over India in July 2002. Aerosol characteristics and rainfall exhibit large regional variations. Cloud effective radius (CER), cloud optical thickness and columnar water vapor over India are the lowest in July 2002. CER decreases as AOD and AAI increase, providing an observational evidence for the indirect effect of aerosols. Eighty percent of CER in northwest India, and 30% of CER over All India in July 2002 are <14 μm, the precipitation threshold critical cloud effective radius. Northeast India shows contrasting features of correlation among aerosols, clouds and rainfall when compared to other regions. These results will be important while examining the inter-annual variation in aerosols, cloud characteristics, rainfall and their trends.


Aerosol Clouds Rainfall India Region Correlation Variation 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space and Atmospheric Sciences DivisionPhysical Research LaboratoryAhmedabadIndia

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