Intense rainfall events over the west coast of India

Francis, P. A. ; Gadgil, Sulochana (2006) Intense rainfall events over the west coast of India Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 94 (1-4). pp. 27-42. ISSN 0177-7971

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The west coast of the Indian peninsula receives very heavy rainfall during the summer Monsoon (June-September) season with average rainfall over some parts exceeding 250 cm. Heavy rainfall events with rainfall more than 15cm day-1 at one or more stations along the west coast of India occur frequently and cause considerable damage. A special observational programme, Arabian Sea Monsoon Experiment, was carried out during the monsoon season of 2002 to study these events. The spatial and temporal distributions of intense rainfall events, presented here, were used for the planning of this observational campaign. The present study using daily rainfall data for summer monsoon season of 37 years (1951-1987) shows that the probability of getting intense rainfall is the maximum between 14°N-16°N and near 19°N. The probability of occurrence of these intense rainfall events is high from mid June to mid August, with a dip in early July. It has been believed for a long time that offshore troughs and vortices are responsible for these intense rainfall events. However, analysis of the characteristics of cloud systems associated with the intense rainfall events during 1985-1988 using very high resolution brightness temperature data from INSAT-IB satellite shows that the cloud systems during these events are characterized by large spatial scales and high cloud tops. Further study using daily satellite derived outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data over a longer period (1975-1998) shows that, most of these events (about 62%) are associated with systems organized on synoptic and larger scales. We find that most of the offshore convective systems responsible for intense rainfall along the west coast of India are linked to the atmospheric conditions over equatorial Indian Ocean.

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