Interaction between the Summer Monsoons in East Asia and the South China Sea: Intraseasonal Monsoon Modes

Tsing-Chang Chen Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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Ming-Cheng Yen Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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Shu-Ping Weng Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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Abstract

The summer monsoons in East and Southeast Asia are characterized, respectively, by the Mei-yu (in eastern China)–Baiu (in Japan) front (MBF) and by the monsoon trough stretching from northern Indochina to the Philippine Sea. These two major monsoon elements are separated by the North Pacific anticyclone. As indicated by the 850-mb zonal wind and cumulus convection over some key areas, a distinct opposite-phase intraseasonal variation exists between the two monsoon elements. Two approaches are adopted to explore the cause of this opposite-phase variation (which reflects the coupling between the two monsoon components): 1) the correlation coefficient patterns between the 850-mb zonal-wind monsoon index and the 850-mb streamfunction field and 2) the composite 850-mb streamline charts and the 120°E zonal-wind cross sections. It is shown that the opposite-phase variation between the two monsoon elements is caused by the anomalous circulation associated with the northward-migrating 30–60-day monsoon trough/ridge from the equator to 20°N and with the westward-propagating 12–24-day monsoon low–high along the latitude of ∼15°–20°N. Results obtained in this study are used to address two often discussed phenomena of the East Asian monsoon: 1) the rapid northward shift of the MBF across the Yangtze River basin during the Mei-yu onset is related to the north–south meridional oscillation of the MBF, and 2) the three longitudinally oriented location zones of extremely heavy rain events in eastern China are formed by the alternation of deep cumulus convection zones associated with the intraseasonal monsoon vortices (centered in the northern part of the South China Sea) between extreme monsoon conditions.

* Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric Science, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taiwan.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Tsing-Chang Chen, Atmospheric Science Program, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

Email: tmchen@iastate.edu

Abstract

The summer monsoons in East and Southeast Asia are characterized, respectively, by the Mei-yu (in eastern China)–Baiu (in Japan) front (MBF) and by the monsoon trough stretching from northern Indochina to the Philippine Sea. These two major monsoon elements are separated by the North Pacific anticyclone. As indicated by the 850-mb zonal wind and cumulus convection over some key areas, a distinct opposite-phase intraseasonal variation exists between the two monsoon elements. Two approaches are adopted to explore the cause of this opposite-phase variation (which reflects the coupling between the two monsoon components): 1) the correlation coefficient patterns between the 850-mb zonal-wind monsoon index and the 850-mb streamfunction field and 2) the composite 850-mb streamline charts and the 120°E zonal-wind cross sections. It is shown that the opposite-phase variation between the two monsoon elements is caused by the anomalous circulation associated with the northward-migrating 30–60-day monsoon trough/ridge from the equator to 20°N and with the westward-propagating 12–24-day monsoon low–high along the latitude of ∼15°–20°N. Results obtained in this study are used to address two often discussed phenomena of the East Asian monsoon: 1) the rapid northward shift of the MBF across the Yangtze River basin during the Mei-yu onset is related to the north–south meridional oscillation of the MBF, and 2) the three longitudinally oriented location zones of extremely heavy rain events in eastern China are formed by the alternation of deep cumulus convection zones associated with the intraseasonal monsoon vortices (centered in the northern part of the South China Sea) between extreme monsoon conditions.

* Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric Science, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taiwan.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Tsing-Chang Chen, Atmospheric Science Program, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

Email: tmchen@iastate.edu

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