The dynamic and thermodynamic structure of monsoon low-pressure systems during extreme rainfall events
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
A cyclone-tracking algorithm is used to identify monsoon low-pressure systems (LPS) in the ERA-interim re-analysis (1979–2010). The LPS that are connected to observed extreme rainfall events are picked out and studied with a focus on their dynamic and thermodynamic structure. Cyclone composite clearly shows the general structure of the LPS, with a pronounced cold core at lower levels and warm core aloft. Evaporative cooling from the falling precipitation is proposed to generate the cold core. The temperature gradients across the cyclone centre are strongest in the early phase of the low. We suggest the baroclinic instability to be important in the development phase of the LPS, whereas the upward motion ahead of the low is maintained through latent heat release in the mature phase. This cooperation between the large-scale flow and the cumulus convection is known as the conditional instability of second kind (CISK). From the composites of the time steps where the extreme precipitation is occurring, a colocation of the strong updraft and vertical velocity is shown. Based on this, we suggest the extreme rainfall events to be a result of the LPS dynamics, which is dominated by the CISK mechanism at this stage of the low. Correlation and co-variability between the LPS precipitation and different meteorological parameters are performed, and we find the LPS precipitation to show a large sensitivity to variability in the vertical velocity and specific humidity at 750 hPa.