Contrasting movement of wind based equatorial trough and equatorial cloud zone over Indian southern peninsula and adjoining Bay of Bengal during the onset phase of northeast monsoon
Keywords:Northeast monsoon, Southwest monsoon, Onset, INSAT, OLR, Equatorial cloud zone, Thematic model, Equatorial trough
ABSTRACT. The northeast monsoon sets in over southern parts of peninsular India after the retreat of southwest monsoon and in association with the southward movement of equatorial trough. The INSAT satellite imageries scrutinised during the past several years revealed that the cloud bands at the time of northeast monsoon onset moved from south Bay into the southern peninsula, a feature that contrasts with the north to south movement of the equatorial trough. The paper investigates this aspect based on a dataset of lower level upper winds of the peninsula, rainfall data and INSAT OLR data for the 20 year period 1981–2000. The super epoch profiles of zonal winds, latitudinal position of equatorial trough with reference to northeast monsoon onset dates have been derived and studied. The region with OLR values less than 230 W/m2 was defined as the equatorial cloud zone and the movement of northern limit of ECZ was studied based on the normal pentad OLR data and also the superposed epoch profiles. From these analysis it has been established that at the time of northeast monsoon onset, the wind based equatorial trough moves south of Comorin whereas the cloud zone in the Bay of Bengal moves from south to north. Reasons for the occurrence of such a contrasting feature have been ascribed to features such as decreasing strength of lower level easterlies from north to south over coastal Tamil Nadu, reversal of temperature gradient between Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram at the time of onset and the dynamics of 40-day oscillation. The northeast monsoon activity over coastal Tamil Nadu has been found to be negatively correlated with the low level zonal winds over the coast, the degree of relation decreasing from north to south and also from October to December. Based on the results derived in the study and also the other known features of northeast monsoon a thematic model of northeast monsoon onset listing the events that precede and succeed the onset has been postulated.
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