A Dynamical Index for the East Asian Winter Monsoon

Yueqing Li Institute of Plateau Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Chengdu, China

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

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Abstract

A new index measuring the East Asian winter monsoon is defined using the mean wind shears of upper-tropospheric zonal wind based on the belief that the physical processes of both higher and lower latitudes, and at both lower and upper troposphere, should be considered to depict the variability of monsoon. When the index is high (low), the westerly jet is strong (weak), the East Asian trough is deep (shallow), the Siberian high is strong (weak), and anomalous low-level northerlies (southerlies) prevail over East Asia. As a result, the surface and lower-tropospheric temperature over East Asia decreases (increases) and the cold surges over Southeast Asia and tropical western Pacific are more (less) active. The index, which exhibits distinct interannual variations, is also strongly correlated with the Arctic Oscillation and Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature (SST) index. Compared to previous indexes, this index takes into account more influencing factors and better elucidates the physical processes associated with monsoon, enhancing interpretations of the variability of monsoon and its effects on regional weather and climate. Furthermore, the monsoon index is significantly linked to antecedent tropical Pacific SST and is highly predictable in the NCEP Climate Forecast System, indicating the advantage of the index for operational predictions of monsoon.

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

Abstract

A new index measuring the East Asian winter monsoon is defined using the mean wind shears of upper-tropospheric zonal wind based on the belief that the physical processes of both higher and lower latitudes, and at both lower and upper troposphere, should be considered to depict the variability of monsoon. When the index is high (low), the westerly jet is strong (weak), the East Asian trough is deep (shallow), the Siberian high is strong (weak), and anomalous low-level northerlies (southerlies) prevail over East Asia. As a result, the surface and lower-tropospheric temperature over East Asia decreases (increases) and the cold surges over Southeast Asia and tropical western Pacific are more (less) active. The index, which exhibits distinct interannual variations, is also strongly correlated with the Arctic Oscillation and Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature (SST) index. Compared to previous indexes, this index takes into account more influencing factors and better elucidates the physical processes associated with monsoon, enhancing interpretations of the variability of monsoon and its effects on regional weather and climate. Furthermore, the monsoon index is significantly linked to antecedent tropical Pacific SST and is highly predictable in the NCEP Climate Forecast System, indicating the advantage of the index for operational predictions of monsoon.

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

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