Upstream Subtropical Signals Preceding the Asian Summer Monsoon Circulation

Song Yang Climate Prediction Center, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, Camp Springs, Maryland

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K-M. Lau NASA GSFC Laboratory for Atmospheres, Greenbelt, Maryland

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S-H. Yoo School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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J. L. Kinter Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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K. Miyakoda Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland

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C-H. Ho School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

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Abstract

In this study, the authors address several issues with respect to the antecedent signals of the large-scale Asian summer monsoon that were earlier identified by Webster and Yang. In particular, they revisit the changes in the subtropical upper-tropospheric westerlies preceding the monsoon, depict the detailed structure of the monsoon's antecedent signals, and investigate the physical processes from the signals to the monsoon. They also explore the teleconnection of these signals to various large-scale climate phenomena and emphasize the importance of the upstream location of the signals relative to the Tibetan Plateau and the monsoon.

Before a strong (weak) Asian summer monsoon, the 200-mb westerlies over subtropical Asia are weak (strong) during the previous winter and spring. A significant feature of these signals is represented by the variability of the Middle East jet stream whose changes are linked to the Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, and other climate phenomena. When this jet stream intensifies and shifts southeastward, cold air intrudes frequently from eastern Europe into the Middle East and southwestern Asia. As a result, in subtropical Asia, snow and precipitation increase, the ground wetness increases, and surface temperature decreases. A strengthening Middle East jet stream is also accompanied by increases in both stationary wave activity flux and higher-frequency eddy activities. The Tibetan Plateau acts to block these westerly activities propagating eastward and increase the persistence of the low-temperature anomalies, which in turn prolongs the atmospheric signals from winter to spring.

A strong link is found between the persistent low-temperature anomalies and the decrease in geopotential height over southern Asia, including the Tibetan Plateau, in spring. The latter indicates a late establishment of the South Asian high, and implies a delay in the atmospheric transition from winter to summer conditions and in the development of the summer monsoon. The preceding scenario for a strong Middle East jet stream and a weaker Asian monsoon can be applied accordingly for the discussion of the physical processes from a weak jet stream to a strong monsoon.

The current results of the relationship between the extratropical process and Asian monsoon resemble several features of the tropical–extratropical interaction mechanism for the tropospheric biennial oscillation (TBO). While the role of tropical heating is emphasized in the TBO mechanism, compared to the variability of the sea surface temperature related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation, the extratropical process examined in this study is more strongly linked to the Asian summer monsoon.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Song Yang, Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, 5200 Auth Road, Rm 605, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: song.yang@noaa.gov

Abstract

In this study, the authors address several issues with respect to the antecedent signals of the large-scale Asian summer monsoon that were earlier identified by Webster and Yang. In particular, they revisit the changes in the subtropical upper-tropospheric westerlies preceding the monsoon, depict the detailed structure of the monsoon's antecedent signals, and investigate the physical processes from the signals to the monsoon. They also explore the teleconnection of these signals to various large-scale climate phenomena and emphasize the importance of the upstream location of the signals relative to the Tibetan Plateau and the monsoon.

Before a strong (weak) Asian summer monsoon, the 200-mb westerlies over subtropical Asia are weak (strong) during the previous winter and spring. A significant feature of these signals is represented by the variability of the Middle East jet stream whose changes are linked to the Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, and other climate phenomena. When this jet stream intensifies and shifts southeastward, cold air intrudes frequently from eastern Europe into the Middle East and southwestern Asia. As a result, in subtropical Asia, snow and precipitation increase, the ground wetness increases, and surface temperature decreases. A strengthening Middle East jet stream is also accompanied by increases in both stationary wave activity flux and higher-frequency eddy activities. The Tibetan Plateau acts to block these westerly activities propagating eastward and increase the persistence of the low-temperature anomalies, which in turn prolongs the atmospheric signals from winter to spring.

A strong link is found between the persistent low-temperature anomalies and the decrease in geopotential height over southern Asia, including the Tibetan Plateau, in spring. The latter indicates a late establishment of the South Asian high, and implies a delay in the atmospheric transition from winter to summer conditions and in the development of the summer monsoon. The preceding scenario for a strong Middle East jet stream and a weaker Asian monsoon can be applied accordingly for the discussion of the physical processes from a weak jet stream to a strong monsoon.

The current results of the relationship between the extratropical process and Asian monsoon resemble several features of the tropical–extratropical interaction mechanism for the tropospheric biennial oscillation (TBO). While the role of tropical heating is emphasized in the TBO mechanism, compared to the variability of the sea surface temperature related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation, the extratropical process examined in this study is more strongly linked to the Asian summer monsoon.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Song Yang, Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, 5200 Auth Road, Rm 605, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: song.yang@noaa.gov

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