On the Weakening Relationship Between the Indian Monsoon and ENSO

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Science  25 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5423, pp. 2156-2159
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5423.2156

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Analysis of the 140-year historical record suggests that the inverse relationship between the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian summer monsoon (weak monsoon arising from warm ENSO event) has broken down in recent decades. Two possible reasons emerge from the analyses. A southeastward shift in the Walker circulation anomalies associated with ENSO events may lead to a reduced subsidence over the Indian region, thus favoring normal monsoon conditions. Additionally, increased surface temperatures over Eurasia in winter and spring, which are a part of the midlatitude continental warming trend, may favor the enhanced land-ocean thermal gradient conducive to a strong monsoon. These observations raise the possibility that the Eurasian warming in recent decades helps to sustain the monsoon rainfall at a normal level despite strong ENSO events.

  • * Permanent address: Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Dr. Homi Bhabha Road, Pashan, Pune 411008, India.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: krishna{at}

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