Winter frequency of western disturbances and precipitation indices over Himachal Pradesh, India: 1977-2007

NARESH KUMAR, B. P. YADAV, SHILPA GAHLOT, MANMOHAN SINGH

Abstract

The Himalayas have an important role in Indian weather and climate, since they control the western disturbances (WDs) during winter and the southwest monsoon during summer. During the winter months (December to March), westerly winds associated with WDs cause precipitation, sometimes along with heavy snowfall, extensive avalanches, etc., over Himachal Pradesh. Therefore, this study examined the temporal variability in the winter months frequency of WDs and various precipitation indices like wet days, rainy days, rather heavy and heavy precipitation days, and precipitation intensity during 1977 to 2007 over Himachal Pradesh. The study also examined synoptic features associated with intense WDs that caused heavy precipitation over the region during the same period. Analysis of data reveals a statistically significant (confidence level > 95%) decreasing trend in the frequency of WDs over this region. Since winter precipitation in Himachal Pradesh mainly occurs due to WDs, total winter precipitation and frequency of rather heavy and heavy precipitation days have decreased over the region. The analysis also shows a decrease of about 25% in heavy precipitation days and of 13% in total winter precipitation from their respective mean (from 1977 to 2007) over Himachal Pradesh.

Keywords

Himachal Pradesh, precipitation, western disturbances.

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