Extent of diurnal cycle of rainfall and its intra seasonal variation over coastal Tamil Nadu during north east monsoon season


  • Y.E.A. RAJ B-8, Hiranya Apartments, Greenways Road Ext, R. A. Puram, Chennai – 600 028, India
  • B. AMUDHA Aerodrome Meteorological Office, India Meteorological Department, Meenambakkam, Chennai – 600 027, India




North east monsoon, Rainfall, Diurnal variation, Coastal Tamil Nadu, Octet, Histogram, Harmonic analysis, Land breeze


The diurnal variation of north east monsoon rainfall of coastal Tamil Nadu represented by four coastal stations Chennai Nungambakkam (Nbk), Chennai Meenambakkam (Mbk), Nagapattinam (Npt) and Pamban (Pbn)  was  studied in detail based on hourly rainfall data of rainy days only, for the period 1 Oct-31 Dec for the 47/48  year period 1969-2016/2017.  Mean Octet rainfall and its anomaly were computed for the 8 octets  00-03,…., 21-24 hrs of the day and the anomaly was tested for statistical significance. Various analysis for the individual months of Oct, Nov, Dec and the entire period Oct-Dec were separately conducted.  The basic technique of evolutionary histogram analysis supplemented by harmonic analysis of octet mean rainfall anomaly was used to detect the diurnal cycle signal. Two indices  named as  diurnal variation of  rainfall index and coefficient of mean absolute octet rainfall anomaly representing the intensity of diurnal variation  in dimensionless numbers were defined,  computed  and interpreted.

The analysis based on the above techniques revealed that the diurnal signal which shows an early morning maximum and late afternoon minimum of octet rainfall is well defined in Oct, decreases in Nov and further decreases in Dec for all the 4 stations. Though the diurnal variation manifests a well defined pattern in Dec the signal is not statistically significant in most cases. For Nbk and Mbk there is a weak secondary peak of octet rainfall anomaly occurring in the forenoon and afternoon respectively in Oct and Dec suggesting the presence of semi-diurnal variation of rainfall. Stationwise, the diurnal signal is most well defined for each month/season in Pbn followed by Npt, Nbk and then Mbk.


The physical causes behind the diurnal signal and its decrease as the north east monsoon season advances from Oct to Dec have been deliberated. The well known feature of nocturnal maximum of oceanic convection influencing a coastal station with maritime climate and the higher saturation at the lower levels of the upper atmosphere in the early morning hours have been advanced as some of the causes. For the much more complex feature of decrease of diurnal signal with the  advancement of the season, the decrease of minimum surface temperature over coastal Tamil Nadu from Oct to Dec causing an early morning conceptual land breeze has been shown as one of the plausible causes  based on analysis of temperature and wind.  Scope for further work based on data from automatic weather stations, weather satellites and Doppler Weather Radars has been discussed.




How to Cite

Y. . . RAJ and B. . AMUDHA, “Extent of diurnal cycle of rainfall and its intra seasonal variation over coastal Tamil Nadu during north east monsoon season”, MAUSAM, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 1–18, Mar. 2022.



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