Modulation of summer monsoon sub-seasonal surface air temperature over India by soil moisture-temperature coupling
Keywords:Sub-seasonal Indian monsoon precipitation, Soil moisture-temperature coupling, Surface air temperature variations
The influence of soil moisture on the sub-seasonal warmer surface air temperature anomalies during drier soil conditions associated with break spells in the Indian summer monsoon precipitation is explored using observations. The multi-model analysis of land surface states and fluxes available from the Second Global Soil Wetness Project (GSWP-2) are found useful in understanding the mechanism for this soil moisture-temperature coupling on sub-seasonal timescales. The analysis uses a soil moisture-temperature coupling diagnostic computed based on linear correlations of daily fields. It is shown that the summer surface air temperature variations are linked to intraseasonal variations of the Indian monsoon precipitation, which control the land-climate coupling by modulating the soil moisture variations. Strong coupling mainly occurs during dry soil states within the summer monsoon season over the transition zones between wet and dry climates of central to north-west India. In contrast, the coupling is weak for constantly wet and energy-limited evaporative regimes over eastern India during the entire summer monsoon season. This observational based analysis provided a better understanding of the linkages between the sub-seasonal dry soil states and warm conditions during the Indian summer monsoon season. A proper representation of these aspects of land-atmosphere interactions in weather and climate models used for sub-seasonal and seasonal monsoon forecasting could be critical for several applications, in particular agriculture. The soil moisture-temperature coupling diagnostic used in this study will be a useful metric for evaluating the performance of weather and climate models.
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