Observational evidence for the relationship between spring soil moisture and June rainfall over the Indian region

by B. KanthaRao and V. Rakesh

Understanding the relationship between gradually varying soil moisture (SM) conditions and monsoon rainfall anomalies is crucial for seasonal prediction. Though it is an important issue, very few studies in the past attempted to diagnose the linkages between the antecedent SM and Indian summer monsoon rainfall. This study examined the relationship between spring (April–May) SM and June rainfall using observed data during the period 1979–2010. The Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analyses showed that the spring SM plays a significant role in June rainfall over the Central India (CI), South India (SI), and North East India (NEI) regions. The composite anomaly of the spring SM and June rainfall showed that excess (deficit) June rainfall over the CI was preceded by wet (dry) spring SM. The anomalies in surface-specific humidity, air temperature, and surface radiation fluxes also supported the existence of a positive SM-precipitation feedback over the CI. On the contrary, excess (deficit) June rainfall over the SI and NEI region were preceded by dry (wet) spring SM. The abnormal wet (dry) SM over the SI and NEI decreased (increased) the 2-m air temperature and increased (decreased) the surface pressure compared to the surrounding oceans which resulted in less (more) moisture transport from oceans to land (negative SM-precipitation feedback over the Indian monsoon region).


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