National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2022

Bay of Bengal intraseasonal oscillations and the 2018 monsoon onset

Shroyer, E., A. Tandon, D. Sengupta, H.J.S. Fernando, A.J. Lucas, J.T. Farrar, R. Chattopadhyay, S. de Szoeke, M. Flatau, A. Rydbeck, H. Wijesekera, M.J. McPhaden, H. Seo, A. Subramanian, R. Venkatesan, J. Joseph, S. Ramsundaram, A.L. Gordon, S.M. Bohman, J. Pérez, I.T. Simoes-Sousa, S. Jayne, R.E. Todd, G.S. Bhat, M. Lankhorst, T. Schlosser, K. Adams, S.U.P. Jinadasa, M. Mathur, M. Mohapatra, E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, A.K. Sahai, R. Sharma, C. Lee, L. Rainville, D. Cherian, K. Cullen, L.R. Centurioni, V. Hormann, J. MacKinnon, U. Send, A. Anutaliya, A. Waterhouse, G.S. Black, J.A. Dehart, K.M. Woods, E. Creegan, G. Levy, L.H. Kantha, and B. Subrahmanyam

Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 102(10), E1936–E1951, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0113.1, View online (2021)

In the Bay of Bengal, the warm, dry boreal spring concludes with the onset of the summer monsoon and accompanying southwesterly winds, heavy rains, and variable air–sea fluxes. Here, we summarize the 2018 monsoon onset using observations collected through the multinational Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Bay of Bengal (MISO-BoB) program between the United States, India, and Sri Lanka. MISO-BoB aims to improve understanding of monsoon intraseasonal variability, and the 2018 field effort captured the coupled air–sea response during a transition from active-to-break conditions in the central BoB. The active phase of the ∼20-day research cruise was characterized by warm sea surface temperature (SST > 30°C), cold atmospheric outflows with intermittent heavy rainfall, and increasing winds (from 2 to 15 m s−1). Accumulated rainfall exceeded 200 mm with 90% of precipitation occurring during the first week. The following break period was both dry and clear, with persistent 10–12 m s−1 wind and evaporation of 0.2 mm h−1. The evolving environmental state included a deepening ocean mixed layer (from ∼20 to 50 m), cooling SST (by ∼1°C), and warming/drying of the lower to midtroposphere. Local atmospheric development was consistent with phasing of the large-scale intraseasonal oscillation. The upper ocean stores significant heat in the BoB, enough to maintain SST above 29°C despite cooling by surface fluxes and ocean mixing. Comparison with reanalysis indicates biases in air–sea fluxes, which may be related to overly cool prescribed SST. Resolution of such biases offers a path toward improved forecasting of transition periods in the monsoon.

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