On the dynamics of an extreme rainfall event in northern India in 2013

  • Anu Xavier
  • M G Manoj
  • K Mohankumar


India experienced a heavy rainfall event in the year 2013 over Uttarakhand and its adjoining areas, which was exceptional as it witnessed the fastest monsoon progression. This study aims to explore the causative factors of this heavy rainfall event leading to flood and landslides which claimed huge loss of lives and property. The catastrophic event occurred from 14th to 17th June, 2013 during which the state received 375% more rainfall than the highest rainfall recorded during a normal monsoon season. Using the high resolution precipitation data and complementary parameters, we found that the mid-latitude westerlies shifted southward from its normal position during the intense flooding event. The southward extension of subtropical jet (STJ) over the northern part of India was observed only during the event days and its intensity was found to be increasing from 14th to 16th June. The classical theory of westward tilt of mid-latitude trough with height, which acts to intensify the system through the transfer of potential energy of the mean flow, is evident from analysis of relative vorticity at multiple pressure levels. On analysing the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), negative values were observed during the event days. Thus, the decrease in pressure gradient resulted in decrease of the intensity of westerlies which caused the cold air to move southward. During the event, as the cold air moved south, it pushed the mid-latitude westerlies south of its normal position during summer monsoon and created a conducive atmosphere for the intensification of the system.


Extreme rainfall events mid-latitude–tropical-interaction subtropical jet North Atlantic Oscillation westward tilt instability 



The first author (Anu Xavier) would like to thank the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), Dept. of Science and Technology, Govt. of India for providing a Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric SciencesCochin University of Science and TechnologyCochinIndia
  2. 2.Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar ResearchCochin University of Science and TechnologyCochinIndia

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