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Water vapor budget of the Indian monsoon depression

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Estimations by previous studies show that a minor amount of the Indian monsoon rainfall is contributed by Indian monsoon depressions (IMDs). In contrast, other studies found that approximately half of the summer monsoon rainfall in the northern Indian subcontinent is generated by IMDs. IMDs occur an average of six times during the summer season and provide a crucial water source to the agricultural activity over this region. The large disparity in the estimation of the IMD contribution to the Indian rainfall by previous studies requires a more accurate water vapor budget analysis of the IMD with quality data. For this reason, a composite analysis of the IMD is performed using the ERA-40 reanalysis and four precipitation data sets (the Global Precipitation Climatology Project, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, the GEOS precipitation index at the Goddard Space Flight Center and surface station observations) for the period of 1979–2002. Important findings of this study are: (i) about 45–55% of the total Indian rainfall is produced by the IMD; (ii) the rainfall maximum in the west–south-west sector of IMDs is largely maintained by convergence of atmospheric water vapor flux. The convergence of water vapor flux is largely coupled with the lower-tropospheric divergent circulation. Thus, the IMD water vapor budget is modulated by the 30–60 and 10–20 d monsoon modes through changes of water vapor convergence/divergence. The magnitude of this modulation on the IMD water vapor budget is close to a quarter of the summer-mean water vapor budget over the Bay of Bengal and north-eastern India.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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