Predictive relationships between Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures and Indian summer monsoon rainfall


  • D. S. PAI



Indian monsoon, Sea surface temperature, Indian Ocean, Long range forecasting


Monthly sea surface temperature (SST) data of 49 years (1950-98) have been analysed to examine the relationship of SST anomalies in the Indian Ocean with Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) and to derive useful predictors for long-range forecasts of ISMR. There is significant positive relationship between ISMR and SST anomalies over the Arabian Sea during November to January and also in May. SST anomalies over southeast Indian Ocean during February to March and over North Pacific during May are also positively correlated with ISMR. The composite analysis revealed that in Non-ENSO drought years (1966, 1968, 1974 and 1979) negative SST anomalies are observed over south Indian Ocean from February which slowly spread towards equator during the subsequent months. These negative SST anomalies which persist during the monsoon season may be playing an important role in modulating ISMR especially in non-ENSO years.


We have derived two indices, ARBSST (SST anomalies in Arabian Sea averaged over 15o - 25o N, 50o -70o E      and November-December-January) and SIOSST (SST anomalies over south Indian Ocean averaged over 15o -30o S,      70o -110o E and February and March) as useful predictors for the long-range forecasts of ISMR. The correlation coefficient (for the period 1950-98) of ARBSST and SIOSST with ISMR is 0.45 and 0.46 respectively which is statistically significant at 99.9 % level. SIOSST index has shown consistently stable relationship with ISMR. However the ARBSST index showed significant correlation with ISMR only after 1976.




How to Cite

M. . . RAJEEVAN, D. S. . . PAI, and V. . . THAPLIYAL, “Predictive relationships between Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures and Indian summer monsoon rainfall”, MAUSAM, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 337–348, Jul. 2002.



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