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The Summer Monsoon of 1987

T. N. KrishnamurtiDepartment of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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H. S. BediDepartment of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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M. SubramaniamDepartment of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

In this paper we have examined the evolution of a number of parameters we believe were important for our understanding of the drought over India during the summer of 1987. The list of parameters includes monthly means or anomalies of the following fields: sea surface temperatures, divergent circulations, outgoing longwave radiation, streamfunction of the lower and upper troposphere, and monthly precipitation (expressed as a percentage departure from a long-term mean). The El Niño related warm sea surface temperature anomaly and a weaker warm sea surface temperature anomaly over the equatorial Indian Ocean provide sustained convection, as reflected by the negative values of the outgoing longwave radiation. With the seasonal heating, a pronounced planetary-scale divergent circulation evolved with a center along the western Pacific Ocean. The monsoonal divergent circulation merged with that related to the El Niño, maintaining most of the heavy rainfall activity between the equatorial Pacific Ocean and east Asia. Persistent convective activity continued south of India during the entire monsoon season. Strong Hadley type overturnings with rising motions over these warm SST anomaly regions and descent roughly near 20° to 25°S was evident as early as April 1987. The subtropical high pressure areas near 20° to 25°S showed stronger than normal circulations. This was revealed by the presence of a counterclockwise streamfunction anomaly at 850 mb during April 1987. With the seasonal heating, this anomaly moved northwards and was located over the Arabian Sea and India. This countermonsoon circulation anomaly at the low levels was associated with a weaker than normal Somali jet and Arabian Sea circulation throughout this summer. The monsoon remained active along northeast India, Bangladesh, northern lndochina, and central China during the summer monsoon season. This was related to the eastward shift of the divergent circulation. An eastward shift of the upper tropospheric anticyclone bell near 25° to 30°N resulted in the continued presence of a westerly wind anomaly north of India. The westerly winds brought in very dry air over the tropical upper troposphere. The dry air penetrated eastwards to central Uttar Pradesh and this seemed to have a major role in inhibiting organized deep convection over most of central, northern and western parts of the Indian subcontinent. The westward extension of the planetary-scale divergent circulation over North and South Africa and the continued drought over the regions are also briefly addressed.

Abstract

In this paper we have examined the evolution of a number of parameters we believe were important for our understanding of the drought over India during the summer of 1987. The list of parameters includes monthly means or anomalies of the following fields: sea surface temperatures, divergent circulations, outgoing longwave radiation, streamfunction of the lower and upper troposphere, and monthly precipitation (expressed as a percentage departure from a long-term mean). The El Niño related warm sea surface temperature anomaly and a weaker warm sea surface temperature anomaly over the equatorial Indian Ocean provide sustained convection, as reflected by the negative values of the outgoing longwave radiation. With the seasonal heating, a pronounced planetary-scale divergent circulation evolved with a center along the western Pacific Ocean. The monsoonal divergent circulation merged with that related to the El Niño, maintaining most of the heavy rainfall activity between the equatorial Pacific Ocean and east Asia. Persistent convective activity continued south of India during the entire monsoon season. Strong Hadley type overturnings with rising motions over these warm SST anomaly regions and descent roughly near 20° to 25°S was evident as early as April 1987. The subtropical high pressure areas near 20° to 25°S showed stronger than normal circulations. This was revealed by the presence of a counterclockwise streamfunction anomaly at 850 mb during April 1987. With the seasonal heating, this anomaly moved northwards and was located over the Arabian Sea and India. This countermonsoon circulation anomaly at the low levels was associated with a weaker than normal Somali jet and Arabian Sea circulation throughout this summer. The monsoon remained active along northeast India, Bangladesh, northern lndochina, and central China during the summer monsoon season. This was related to the eastward shift of the divergent circulation. An eastward shift of the upper tropospheric anticyclone bell near 25° to 30°N resulted in the continued presence of a westerly wind anomaly north of India. The westerly winds brought in very dry air over the tropical upper troposphere. The dry air penetrated eastwards to central Uttar Pradesh and this seemed to have a major role in inhibiting organized deep convection over most of central, northern and western parts of the Indian subcontinent. The westward extension of the planetary-scale divergent circulation over North and South Africa and the continued drought over the regions are also briefly addressed.

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