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Modelling the moistening of the free troposphere during the northwestward progression of Indian monsoon onset

Menon, A., Turner, A. G., Martin, G. M. and MacLachlan, C. (2018) Modelling the moistening of the free troposphere during the northwestward progression of Indian monsoon onset. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 144 (713). pp. 1152-1168. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.3281

Abstract/Summary

Understanding and prediction of the Indian monsoon onset is of paramount importance for agricultural planning that affects food production and the gross domestic product of the country. A recent observational study suggests that the progression of the Indian monsoon onset in a northwestward direction, which is perpendicular to the mean flow, is reinforced by the moistening of the free troposphere by pre-monsoon showers and wetting of the land surface. As the onset progresses, the mid-tropospheric dry layer is thought to be constantly moistened from below by detrainment from shallow cumulus and congestus clouds from the southeast. The dry layer becomes much shallower towards southeast India, making the profile closer to moist adiabatic, providing favourable conditions for deep cumulus convection. Increased moistening of the free troposphere thereby pushes the northern limit of moist convection to move northwestwards. Here we examine the representation of this process in hindcast simulations from the fully coupled atmosphere-ocean seasonal forecast system of the UK Met Office, GloSea5. The model effectively captures the mid-level dry air intrusion from the northwest which suppresses convection over the northwestern parts of India. We also show that detrainment from shallow convection, measured by moisture tendencies around the freezing level, acts to saturate the free troposphere ahead of the monsoon onset, eroding the dry-layer from the southeast. This work suggests that initialized coupled models are capable of simulating dynamic and thermodynamic processes inherent in monsoon progression during the onset.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:73941
Uncontrolled Keywords:Indian monsoon; onset; northwestward progression; dry air intrusion; coupled model; moistening; free troposphere
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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