Tropical and mid-latitude teleconnections interacting with the Indian summer monsoon rainfall: A theory-guided causal effect network approach

Giorgia Di Capua*, Marlene Kretschmer, Reik V. Donner, Bart Van Den Hurk, Ramesh Vellore, Raghavan Krishnan, Dim Coumou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The alternation of active and break phases in Indian summer monsoon (ISM) rainfall at intraseasonal timescales characterizes each ISM season. Both tropical and mid-latitude drivers influence this intraseasonal ISM variability. The circumglobal teleconnection observed in boreal summer drives intraseasonal variability across the mid-latitudes, and a two-way interaction between the ISM and the circumglobal teleconnection pattern has been hypothesized. We use causal discovery algorithms to test the ISM circumglobal teleconnection hypothesis in a causal framework. A robust causal link from the circumglobal teleconnection pattern and the North Atlantic region to ISM rainfall is identified, and we estimate the normalized causal effect (CE) of this link to be about 0.2 (a 1 standard deviation shift in the circumglobal teleconnection causes a 0.2 standard deviation shift in the ISM rainfall 1 week later). The ISM rainfall feeds back on the circumglobal teleconnection pattern, however weakly. Moreover, we identify a negative feedback between strong updraft located over India and the Bay of Bengal and the ISM rainfall acting at a biweekly timescale, with enhanced ISM rainfall following strong updraft by 1 week. This mechanism is possibly related to the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation. The updraft has the strongest CE of 0.5, while the Madden-Julian oscillation variability has a CE of 0.2-0.3. Our results show that most of the ISM variability on weekly timescales comes from these tropical drivers, though the mid-latitude teleconnection also exerts a substantial influence. Identifying these local and remote drivers paves the way for improved subseasonal forecasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-34
Number of pages18
JournalEarth System Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2020

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