Notes and Correspondence: Globally unified monsoon onset and retreat indexes

Xubin Zeng, Er Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Different criteria have been used in the past to define the monsoon onset and retreat over different monsoon regions and even over different parts of the same monsoon region. Here an objective criterion is proposed to define, for the first time, globally unified summer monsoon onset (or retreat) dates using a single meteorological variable (i.e., the global daily 1× 1° normalized precipitable water data) with the threshold value being the Golden Ratio (0.618). Results are found to be consistent with those determined using long-term rainfall data over most monsoon regions. The precipitable water data have also been used to refine the definition of monsoon regions on a grid-cell-by-cell basis. The objective definitions of these basic monsoon characteristics would provide one of the necessary foundations for global monsoon research. They, along with the onset/retreat data over a 10-yr period (1988-97), would also facilitate the diagnostics and validation of global monsoon simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2241-2248
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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