AbstractIndian monsoon depressions (MDs) are synoptic-scale cyclonic systems that propagate across peninsular India three or four times per monsoon season. They are responsible for the majority of rainfall in agrarian north India, thus constraining precipitation estimates is of high importance. Here, we use a case study from August 2014 to explore the relationship between varying soil moisture and the resulting track and structure of an incident MD using the Met Office Unified Model. We use this case study with the view to increasing understanding of the general impact of soil moisture perturbations on monsoon depressions. It is found that increasing soil moisture in the monsoon trough region results in deeper inland penetration and a more developed structure – e.g. a warmer core in the mid-troposphere and a stronger bimodal potential vorticity core in the middle/lower troposphere – with more precipitation, and a structure that in general more closely resembles that found in depressions over the ocean, indicating that soil moisture may enhance the convective mechanism that drives depressions over land. This experiment also shows that these changes are most significant when the depression is deep, and negligible when it is weakening. Increasing soil moisture in the sub-Himalayan arable zone, a region with large irrigation coverage, also caused deeper inland penetration and some feature enhancement in the upper troposphere but no significant changes were found in the track heading or lower-tropospheric structure.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 17, 2017
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