The second campaign of the Arabian Sea Monsoon Experiment (ARMEX-II) was conducted in two phases viz., March–April and May–June 2003. In the present work, the buoy and ocean research vessel data collected during the second phase of ARMEX-II have been analysed to bring out the characteristic features of monsoon onset. The results have shown that the thermodynamical features such as build up of lower tropospheric instability and increased height of zero degree isotherm occurred about a week before the monsoon onset over Kerala and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea. There was a sharp fall in the temperature difference between 850 and 500 hPa, and the height of zero degree isotherm about 2–3 days before the monsoon onset. The flux of sensible heat was positive (sea to air) over south Arabian Sea during the onset phase. Over the Bay of Bengal higher negative (air to sea) values of sensible flux prevailed before the monsoon onset which became less negative with the advance of monsoon over that region.
The pre-onset period was characterized by large sea surface temperature (SST) gradient over the Arabian Sea with rapid decrease towards north of the warm pool region. The buoy observations have shown that SST remained close to 30.5°C in the warm pool region during the pre-onset period in 2003 but only 2–3 degrees away (north of this region) SSTs were as low as 28.5-29°C. An interesting aspect of sea level pressure (SLP) variability over the Indian seas during the onset phase of summer monsoon 2003 was undoubtedly, the highest SLP in the warm pool region inspite of very high SSTs.
Volume 129, 2020
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