• Volume 119, Issue 4

August 2010,   pages  397-560

• Towards understanding the unusual Indian monsoon in 2009

The Indian summer monsoon season of 2009 commenced with a massive deficit in all-India rainfallof 48% of the average rainfall in June. The all-India rainfall in July was close to the normal but that in August was deficit by 27%. In this paper, we first focus on June 2009, elucidating the special features and attempting to identify the factors that could have led to the large deficit in rainfall. In June 2009, the phase of the two important modes, viz., El Ni˜no and Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the equatorial Indian Ocean Oscillation (EQUINOO) was unfavourable. Also, the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean (EEIO) was warmer than in other years and much warmer than the Bay. In almost all the years, the opposite is true, i.e., the Bay is warmer than EEIO in June. It appears that this SST gradient gave an edge to the tropical convergence zone over the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean, in competition with the organized convection over the Bay. Thus, convection was not sustained for more than three or four days over the Bay and no northward propagations occurred. We suggest that the reversal of the sea surface temperature (SST) gradient between the Bay of Bengal and EEIO, played a critical role in the rainfall deficit over the Bay and hence the Indian region. We also suggest that suppression of convection over EEIO in association with the El Ni˜no led to a positive phase of EQUINOO in July and hence revival of the monsoon despite the El Ni˜no. It appears that the transition to a negative phase of EQUINOO in August and the associated large deficit in monsoon rainfall can also be attributed to the El Ni˜no.

• Mesoscale model forecast verification during monsoon 2008

There have been very few mesoscale modelling studies of the Indian monsoon, with focus on the verification and intercomparison of the operational real time forecasts. With the exception of Das et al (2008), most of the studies in the literature are either the case studies of tropical cyclones and thunderstorms or the sensitivity studies involving physical parameterization or climate simulation studies. Almost all the studies are based on either National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), USA, final analysis fields (NCEP FNL) or the reanalysis data used as initial and lateral boundary conditions for driving the mesoscale model.

Here we present a mesoscale model forecast verification and intercomparison study over India involving three mesoscale models: (i) the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), USA, (ii) the MM5 model developed by NCAR, and (iii) the Eta model of the NCEP, USA. The analysis is carried out for the monsoon season, June to September 2008. This study is unique since it is based entirely on the real time global model forecasts of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) T254 global analysis and forecast system. Based on the evaluation and intercomparison of the mesoscale model forecasts, we recommend the best model for operational real-time forecasts over the Indian region.

Although the forecast mean 850 hPa circulation shows realistic monsoon flow and the monsoon trough, the systematic errors over the Arabian Sea indicate an easterly bias to the north (of mean flow) and westerly bias to the south (of mean flow). This suggests that the forecasts feature a southward shift in the monsoon current. The systematic error in the 850 hPa temperature indicates that largely the WRF model forecasts feature warm bias and the MM5 model forecasts feature cold bias. Features common to all the three models include warm bias over northwest India and cold bias over southeast peninsula. The 850 hPa specific humidity forecast errors clearly show that the Eta model features dry bias mostly over the sea, while MM5 features moist bias over large part of domain. The RMSE computed at different levels clearly establish that WRF model forecasts feature least errors in the predicted free atmospheric fields. Detailed rainfall forecast verification further establishes that the WRF model forecast rainfall skill remains more or less same in day-2 and day-3 as in day-1, while the forecast skill in the MM5 and Eta models, deteriorates in day-2 and day-3 forecasts.

• Assessing impact of climate change on season length in Karnataka for IPCC SRES scenarios

Changes in seasons and season length are an indicator, as well as an effect, of climate change. Seasonal change profoundly affects the balance of life in ecosystems and impacts essential human activities such as agriculture and irrigation. This study investigates the uncertainty of season length in Karnataka state, India, due to the choice of scenarios, season type and number of seasons. Based on the type of season, the monthly sequences of variables (predictors) were selected from datasets of NCEP and Canadian General Circulation Model (CGCM3). Seasonal stratifications were carried out on the selected predictors using K-means clustering technique. The results of cluster analysis revealed increase in average, wet season length in A2, A1B and B1 scenarios towards the end of 21st century. The increase in season length was higher for A2 scenario whereas it was the least for B1 scenario. COMMIT scenario did not show any change in season length. However, no change in average warm and cold season length was observed across the four scenarios considered. The number of seasons was increased from 2 to 5. The results of the analysis revealed that no distinct cluster could be obtained when the number of seasons was increased beyond three.

• Comparative study of MLT mean winds using MF radars located at 16.8° N and 8.7°N

The main aim of the paper is to describe mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) wind field observed between June 2000 and May 2002 by medium frequency (MF) radars at two locations near the equatorial region and at tropical latitude. We have presented and compared observations of mean horizontal winds in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) region over Kolhapur (16.8°N, 74.2°E) and Tirunelveli (8.7°N, 77.8°E). Our analysis reveals annual oscillation in the zonal wind and semi-annual oscillation in the meridional wind over Kolhapur. On the other hand, results over Tirunelveli reveal semi-annual oscillation (SAO) in the zonal wind and annual oscillation in the meridional wind. Also we have observed enhanced magnitude of wind speed in spring equinox period of 2002 exhibiting the signatures of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) over Tirunelveli.

• Atmospheric aerosol formation and its growth during the cold season in India

The effects of molecular diffusivity of H2SO4 and NH3 vapours on nucleated particles of SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ species are reported. Condensation sink and source rate of H2SO4 and NH3 vapours, growth rates and ratios of real to apparent nucleation rates are calculated for SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ aerosols using fractional contributions of them in total aerosol size-distribution during the measurement period at Pune, reported in Chate and Pranesha (2004). The percentage of nucleated SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ aerosols of mid-point diameter 13 nm are 2% and 3% respectively of the total particles (13 nm ≤ $D_{p}$ ≤750nm) for both H2SO4 and NH3 diffusion. In the diameter range $75 nm \leq D_{p} \leq 133 nm$, it is 48% and 45% of SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ aerosols, respectively for NH3 diffusion and 43% and 36% of SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ for H2SO4 diffusion. Increase in percentage of nucleated particles of these species corresponding to mid-point diameter 133 nm around 0900 h IST is significantly higher than that of mid-point diameter 13 nm and it is due to photo-chemical nucleation, coagulation and coalescence among nucleated clusters. The ratios of real to apparent formation rates for SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ aerosols are 12% and 11% respectively, corresponding to mid-point diameter 13 nm, 17% and 13%, for midpoint diameter 133 nm and 12% and 9.5%, for mid-point diameter 750 nm. The results indicate that nucleation involving H2SO4 and acidic NH3 diffusion on SO$^{2−}_{4}$ and NO$^{−}_{3}$ particles is the most relevant mechanism in this region.

• Changes in concentration and size distribution of aerosols during fog over the south Indian Ocean

Measurements of the concentration and size distribution of aerosol particles in the size-ranges of 0.5–20 𝜇 m and 16–700 nm diameters were made during six fog episodes over the south Indian Ocean. Observations show that concentrations of particles of all sizes start decreasing 1–2 hours before the occurrence of fog. This decrease is more prominent for coarse particles of &lt; 1 𝜇 m diameter and continues until 10–20 minutes before the onset of fog when particle concentrations in all size ranges rapidly increase by one/two orders of magnitude in ∼20 minutes. Thereafter, concentrations of particles of all sizes gradually decrease until the dissipation of fog. After the fog dissipation, concentrations of coarse mode particles rapidly increase and restore to their pre-fog levels but concentrations of the Aitken mode particles decrease slowly and reach their pre-fog levels only after 1–2 hours. The net effect of fog is to change the bimodal size distributions of aerosols with a coarse mode at 1.0 𝜇 m and an accumulation mode at 40–60 nm to a power law size distribution. It is proposed that the preferential growth and sedimentation of the coarse mode hygroscopic particles in the initial phase cause a large decrease in the aerosol surface area. As a result, the low vapour pressure gases which were initially being used for the growth of coarse mode particles, now accelerate the growth rates of the accumulation and Aitken mode particles.

• A new ionospheric tomographic algorithm – constrained multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique (CMART)

For the limitation of the conventional multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique (MART), a constrained MART (CMART) is proposed in this paper. In the new tomographic algorithm, a popular two-dimensional multi-point finite difference approximation of the second order Laplacian operator is used to smooth the electron density field. The feasibility and superiority of the new method are demonstrated by using the numerical simulation experiment. Finally, the CMART is used to reconstruct the regional electron density field by using the actual GNSS data under geomagnetic quiet and disturbed days. The available ionosonde data from Beijing station further validates the superiority of the new method.

• Equatorial electrojet in east Brazil longitudes

This paper describes the morphology of the equatorial electrojet (EEJ) along 45°W longitude in east Brazil, where the ground magnetic (dip) equator is associated with the largest declination in the world. Daily range of the horizontal field (𝛿 𝐻), as expected, was largest at the station in the chain closest to the dip equator, Sao Luiz (inclination $−$0.25°S). 𝛿 𝑍 was largest positive at Eusebio (inclination 9.34°S) and largest negative at Belem (inclination 7.06°N); both near the fringe of EEJ belt. 𝛿 𝑍 at Sao Luiz during the daytime was unexpectedly large negative in-spite of a small dip and also located south of the dip equator where 𝛿 𝑍 should be positive. Center of EEJ was found to be shifted southward of the dip equator by about 1° in latitude. During southern summer, 𝛥 𝑌 started decreasing from 00 h and reached a minimum value in the afternoon, an abnormal feature not discussed for any station so far. The mid-day value of the direction of 𝛥 𝐻 vector was 22°-24°W compared to the declination of 19°$–$21°W in the region.

• Variability of soil moisture and its relationship with surface albedo and soil thermal diffusivity at Astronomical Observatory, Thiruvananthapuram, south Kerala

Continuous observation data collected over the year 2008 at Astronomical Observatory, Thiruvananthapuram in south Kerala (76° 59′E longitude and 8° 30′N latitude) are used to study the diurnal, monthly and seasonal soil moisture variations. The effect of rainfall on diurnal and seasonal soil moisture is discussed. We have investigated relationships of soil moisture with surface albedo and soil thermal diffusivity. The diurnal variation of surface albedo appears as a U-shaped curve on sunny days. Surface albedo decreases with the increase of solar elevation angle, and it tends to be a constant when solar elevation angle is greater than 40°. So the daily average surface albedo was calculated using the data when solar elevation angle is greater than 40°. The results indicate that the mean daily surface albedo decreases with increases in soil moisture content, showing a typical exponential relation between the surface albedo and the soil moisture. Soil thermal diffusivity increases firstly and then decreases with the increase of soil moisture.

• Distribution of dissolved carbohydrates and uronic acids in a tropical estuary, India

Carbohydrates including uronic acids are among the active components of dissolved organic carbon, and play an important role in biogeochemical cycling of organic carbon in marine environments. In order to understand their distribution, concentrations of total dissolved carbohydrate (TCHO), dissolved polysaccharide (PCHO), dissolved monosaccharide (MCHO), and dissolved uronic acid (URA) were measured in the Mandovi estuary, west coast of India during the monsoon and premonsoon seasons. The estuary experienced nearly fresh water condition during the monsoon season and marine condition during the pre-monsoon season. Concentrations of TCHO, MCHO and URA ranged from 17.7 to 67.3 𝜇M C, 4.1 to 15.5 𝜇M C and 2.3 to 10.8 𝜇M C, and their contribution to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) varied from ∼11 to 60%, 2.5 to 9.7%, and 1.8 to 5.3%, respectively. PCHO accounted for ∼52 to 92% of the TCHO. Generally, concentrations and yields of TCHO species were greater during the monsoon season. Phytoplankton abundance and bacterial cell numbers influenced the distribution of TCHO in the pre-monsoon season but not during the monsoon season. Transport of TCHO rich (11 to 60%) dissolved organic matter from the Mandovi estuary to the coastal waters during the monsoon season may affect ecosystem function by fueling biological activity of heterotrophic micro-organisms.

• Correlation of the oldest Toba Tuff to sediments in the central Indian Ocean Basin

We have identified an ash layer in association with Australasian microtektites of ∼0.77Ma old in two sediment cores which are ∼450 km apart in the central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB). Morphology and chemical composition of glass shards and associated microtektites have been used to trace their provenance. In ODP site 758 from Ninetyeast Ridge, ash layer-D (13 cm thick, 0.73–0.75 Ma) and layer-E (5 cm thick, 0.77–0.78 Ma) were previously correlated to the oldest Toba Tuff (OTT) eruptions of the Toba caldera, Sumatra. In this investigation, we found tephra ∼3100 km to the southwest of Toba caldera that is chemically identical to layer D of ODP site 758 and ash in the South China Sea correlated to the OTT. Layer E is not present in the CIOB or other ocean basins. The occurrence of tephra correlating to layer D suggests a widespread distribution of OTT tephra (∼3.6 × 107 km2), an ash volume of at least ∼1800 km3, a total OTT volume of 2300 km3, and classification of the OTT eruption as a super-eruption.

• Detrital zircon and apatite fission track data in the Liaoxi basins: Implication to Meso-Cenozoic thermo-tectonic evolution of the northern margin of the North China Craton

Detrital zircon and apatite fission track (ZFT and AFT) data of the sandstones collected from the Liaoxi basins served as a significant probe to study the Meso-Cenozoic thermo-tectonic reactivation events in the northern margin of the North China Craton. All sandstones show wide ZFT and AFT age spectrum and most of ZFT and AFT ages are younger than depositional age of respective host rocks, which suggest widespread track resetting of the host rocks in the Liaoxi basins after deposition. This hot geothermal status in the Liaoxi basins deduced from ZFT and AFT data is temporal consistent with the lithospheric evolution of the North China Craton, which implies that the lithosphere under the northern margin of the North China Craton underwent similar thermo-tectonic destruction process as the intracratonic Bohai Sea. The young ZFT peak age, which ranges from ∼50Ma to 20 Ma, to some extend, provides a temporal constraint on the time that lithosphere significantly thinned and following reverse of the Liaoxi basins and uplift of the eastern part of the Yan-Liao Orogenic Belt. Exhumation of 1.5–2 km can be estimated in the eastern part of the Yan-Liao Orogenic Belt since ∼30Ma to 10 Ma.

• The 2007 Bengkulu earthquake, its rupture model and implications for seismic hazard

The 12 September 2007 great Bengkulu earthquake ($M_w$ 8.4) occurred on the west coast of Sumatra about 130 km SW of Bengkulu. The earthquake was followed by two strong aftershocks of $M_w$ 7.9 and 7.0. We estimate coseismic offsets due to the mainshock, derived from near-field Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements from nine continuous SuGAr sites operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) group. Using a forward modelling approach, we estimated slip distribution on the causative rupture of the 2007 Bengkulu earthquake and found two patches of large slip, one located north of the mainshock epicenter and the other, under the Pagai Islands. Both patches of large slip on the rupture occurred under the island belt and shallow water. Thus, despite its great magnitude, this earthquake did not generate a major tsunami. Further, we suggest that the occurrence of great earthquakes in the subduction zone on either side of the Siberut Island region, might have led to the increase in static stress in the region, where the last great earthquake occurred in 1797 and where there is evidence of strain accumulation.

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• # Editorial Note on Continuous Article Publication

Posted on July 25, 2019