Trend and interannual variability of total integrated precipitable water vapor (PWV) has been studied over India for the period 1979–2004 using NCEP/National Centre for Atmospheric Research reanalysis data with 2.5° × 2.5° resolution. The spatiotemporal variability of cycling rates (CR; units: per day), obtained from the ratio of rainfall to the PWV were presented not only for the long term (1979–2004) but also during El Niño (EN) and La Niña (LN) years of the study period to understand the intensity of hydrological cycle. The paper then dwells on obtaining the monthly atmospheric residences times over India to infer the stay of water vapor before it precipitates. The results of the present study are: all India PWV shows decreasing trend in association with the increasing/decreasing trends of Niño 3 SST/Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) for the southwest (SW) monsoon period of 1979–2004; the spatial pattern of temporal correlations of CR with SOI and Niño 3 SST displayed the significant positive and negative values in peninsular and central Indian portions of India respectively; all India atmospheric residence times varied from 9 to 2 days from premonsoon/post monsoon to SW monsoon over India.

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