2007 Volume 85 Issue 3 Pages 349-358
Intraseasonal variability (10-60 days) of sea surface temperature (SST) over the north Indian Ocean and its influence on regional precipitation variability over the Indian subcontinent are examined. SST, cloud liquid water and precipitation over the Indian Ocean of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), precipitation of Climate Prediction Center Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP), and low-level atmospheric parameters of National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) II reanalysis are utilized for this study. Western Ghats (WG) in the southwest and the Ganges-Mahanadi Basin (GB) in the northeast of the Indian subcontinent are observed to be the regions of maximum precipitation with large standard deviations of the intraseasonal variability. Active (break) phases of precipitation occur in these regions by the northward propagation of positive (negative) precipitation anomalies over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Latitude-time plots during the active phase of the WG region shows that the positive SST anomalies over the Arabian Sea formed by suppressed surface latent heat flux and increased downward shortwave radiation flux lead the positive precipitation anomalies. Surface air temperature anomalies follow the SST anomalies and then destabilize the lower atmosphere between 1000 hPa and 700 hPa. These results indicate that, in the northward propagating dynamical surface convergence, underlying SST anomalies tend to form a favorable condition for convective activity and may sustain enhanced precipitation over the convergence region. This results in enhanced precipitation anomalies over the WG region that move further northeastward and merge with the northward propagating precipitation anomalies from the Bay of Bengal, enhancing the active phase of the GB region.