Energetics of Indian winter monsoon


The Indian subcontinent is characterized by complex topography and heterogeneous land use-land cover. The Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau are spread across the northern part of the continent. Due to its highly variable topography, understanding of the prevailing synoptic weather systems is complex over the region. The present study analyzes the energetics of Indian winter monsoon (IWM) over the Indian subcontinent using outputs of mesoscale model (MM5) forced with National Center for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR), US, initial and boundary conditions. MM5 modeling framework, designed to simulate or predict mesoscale atmospheric circulations, is having a limited-area, non-hydrostatic and terrain following 12 sigma levels. The IWM energetics is studied using MM5 model outputs. Prior to this model’s validity and deviation from the corresponding observations (NCEP/NCAR) is assessed. The model’s overestimation/underestimation of wind, temperature and specific humidity at upper troposphere proves that the model has difficulty in picking up corresponding fields at all the model grid points because of terrain complexity over the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. Hence, the model fields deviate from the corresponding observations. However, model results match well with the winter global energy budget calculated using reanalysis dataset by Peixoto and Oort (1992). It suggests MM5 model’s fitness in simulating large scale synoptic weather systems. And, thus the model outputs are used for calculation of energetics associated with IWM. It is observed that beyond \(15^{{\circ }}\hbox {N}\) lower as well as upper level convergence of diabatic heating, which represents continental cooling and sinking of heat from atmosphere to land mass (i.e., surface is cooler than surrounding atmosphere) dominates. The diabatic heating divergence (cooling of continents) is found over ocean/sea and whole of the China region, Tibetan and central Himalayas (because of excess condensation than evaporation). The adiabatic generation of kinetic energy depends on the cross isobaric flow (north to south in winter, i.e., the present study shows strong circulation during IWM). It is found that wind divergence of model concludes lower level convergence over study region (i.e., strong winter circulation in the model fields).

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\({K}_{{M}}\) :

Mean flow kinetic energy

\({K}_{{T}}\) :

Eddy flow kinetic energy

V :

Mean Flow of Horizontal Wind (u, v)

\(V^{\prime }\) :

Eddy flow of horizontal wind (u, v)

\({H}_{0}\) :

Horizontal flux of mean flow

\({H}_{1}\) :

Horizontal flux of eddy flow

\(\omega \) :

Vertical wind

\(\phi \) :

Geopotential energy

P :

Pressure dimension

F :

Frictional force

\(\zeta \) :

Relative vorticity

\(\beta \) :

Rosby number

\(v^{\prime }\) :

Eddy flow meridional wind

v :

Meridional wind

Z :


M :

Angular momentum

f :

Coriolis factor

a :

Radius of Earth

\(\varphi \) :


\(\lambda \) :


\({C}_{{P}}\) :

Specific heat capacity at constant pressure of atmosphere

T :


L :

Latent heat

q :

Specific humidity

\(\alpha \) :

Specific volume

\({Q}_{{L}}\) :

Latent heat loss

\({Q}_{{H}}\) :

Heat loss

t :


D :

Horizontal divergence


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The authors acknowledge Jawaharlal Nehru University for providing the High Performance computing facility needed for the study for the calculation of the energetics derive variables. Pramod Kumar acknowledges UGC-CSIR for Junior Research Fellowship. We also thank Madhavi Jain for proof reading the manuscript. Authors acknowledge NCEP data portal for data availability.

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Correspondence to A P Dimri.

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Corresponding editor: Ashok Karumuri

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Kumar, P., Dimri, A.P. Energetics of Indian winter monsoon. J Earth Syst Sci 127, 73 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-018-0976-6

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  • Indian winter monsoon
  • topography
  • budget
  • mesoscale model
  • synoptic weather system