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Tracking the Indian Summer Monsoon Onset Back to the Preinstrument Period

AuthorsOrdóñez-Pérez, Paulina; Gallego, David; Ribera, Pedro; Peña-Ortiz, Cristina; García Herrera, Ricardo
KeywordsIndian Ocean
Climate variability
Issue Date25-Oct-2016
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
CitationJournal of Climate, 29(22): 8115-8127 (2016)
AbstractThe Indian summer monsoon onset is one of the most expected meteorological events of the world, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people. The India Meteorological Department has dated the monsoon onset since 1901, but its original methodology was considered subjective and it was updated in 2006. Unfortunately, the new method relies on OLR measurements, which impedes the construction of an objective onset series before the 1970s. An alternative approach is the use of the wind field, but the development of such an index is limited to the period covered by reanalysis products. In this paper historical wind records taken on board ships are used to develop a new onset series using only wind direction measurements, providing an objective record of the onset since the late nineteenth century. The new series captures the rapid precipitation increase associated with the onset, correlates well with previous approaches, and is robust against anomalous (bogus) onsets. A tendency for later-than-average onsets during the 1900–25 and 1970–90 periods and earlier-than-average onsets between 1940 and 1965 was found. A relatively stable relationship between ENSO and Indian monsoon onset dates was found; however, this link tends to be weaker during decades characterized by prevalent La Niña conditions. Furthermore, it was found that the link between the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and the onset date is limited to the phases characterized by a shift from negative to positive PDO phases.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0788.1
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