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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-280
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-280
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 23 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

A Skewed perspective of the Indian rainfall-ENSO Relationship

Justin Schulte1, Fredrick Policielli2, and Benjamin Zaitchik3 Justin Schulte et al.
  • 1Science Systems and Applications, Inc.
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • 3John Hopkins University

Abstract. The application of higher-order wavelet analysis to India rainfall and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is presented. An auto-bicoherence analysis is used to extract the frequency modes contributing to the skewness of India rainfall and ENSO. A nonlinear wavelet coherence method is proposed for diagnosing why the time-domain correlation between two time series temporally changes when at least one time series has changing nonlinear characteristics.

The results indicate the India rainfall and ENSO are highly nonlinear phenomenon. It is also demonstrated that the sea surface temperature (SST) patterns associated with different nonlinear ENSO modes depend on the frequency components participating in the nonlinear phase coupling. The SST pattern associated with coupling between ENSO modes with periods of 31 and 15.5 months is reminiscent of a central Pacific El Niño and intensifies around 1995, contrasting with the coupling between the 62- and 31-month modes that became active around the 1970s ENSO regime shift. A nonlinear coherence analysis showed that the skewness of India rainfall is weakly correlated with that of 4 ENSO time series after the 1970s, indicating that increases in ENSO skewness after 1970's at least partially contributed to the weakening India rainfall-ENSO relationship in recent decades. The implication of this result is that the intensity of skewed El Niño events is likely to overestimate India drought severity, which was the case in the 1997 monsoon season, a time point when the nonlinear wavelet coherence between All-India rainfall and ENSO reached its lowest value in the 1871–2016 period.

Justin Schulte et al.
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Justin Schulte et al.
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Short summary
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) began to evolve nonlinearly around the 1970s. The Indian monsoon-ENSO relationship weakened around that time. As demonstrated using higher-order wavelet analysis, the ENSO regime shift and the weakening Indian monsoon-ENSO relationship could be linked through a relationship between ENSO nonlinearity and ENSO flavors.
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) began to evolve nonlinearly around the 1970s. The...
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