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Climatological Evolution of the Okinawa Baiu and Differences in Large-Scale Features during May and June

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  • 1 Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • | 2 Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
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Abstract

The Okinawa baiu (summer rainy season) starts in early May and ends in late June, preceding the baiu in mainland Japan by approximately 1 month. This study investigates the time evolution of the large-scale circulation associated with the Okinawa baiu using 10-yr (1997–2006) climatologies of precipitation and meteorological fields, with particular focus on temperature advection at 500 hPa.The onset of the Okinawa baiu occurs in early May and is followed by an initial peak in precipitation during mid-May. The baiu rainband then moves southeastward, leading to a short break in baiu precipitation during late May. The rainband returns to Okinawa in early June, and a second peak in precipitation occurs during mid-June. The baiu rainband withdraws northward in late June. The mid-May precipitation peak is associated with warm advection at 500 hPa, mainly due to the meridional temperature gradient and the prevailing southerly winds. This warm advection coincides with upward motion near Okinawa; however, the warm advection is insufficient to explain the peak precipitation amount. Enhancement of precipitation by a transient disturbance probably contributes to the peak amount. The break period during late May coincides with the peak of South China Sea monsoon. Warm advection at 500 hPa strengthens again in June because of the strong zonal thermal contrast between the warm Tibetan Plateau and cold Pacific. This warm advection is able to adequately explain both the upward motion and precipitation. These results indicate that the large-scale meteorological characteristics are different during the first and second peaks.

Corresponding author address: Yasuko Okada, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan. E-mail: y-okada@ees.hokudai.ac.jp

Abstract

The Okinawa baiu (summer rainy season) starts in early May and ends in late June, preceding the baiu in mainland Japan by approximately 1 month. This study investigates the time evolution of the large-scale circulation associated with the Okinawa baiu using 10-yr (1997–2006) climatologies of precipitation and meteorological fields, with particular focus on temperature advection at 500 hPa.The onset of the Okinawa baiu occurs in early May and is followed by an initial peak in precipitation during mid-May. The baiu rainband then moves southeastward, leading to a short break in baiu precipitation during late May. The rainband returns to Okinawa in early June, and a second peak in precipitation occurs during mid-June. The baiu rainband withdraws northward in late June. The mid-May precipitation peak is associated with warm advection at 500 hPa, mainly due to the meridional temperature gradient and the prevailing southerly winds. This warm advection coincides with upward motion near Okinawa; however, the warm advection is insufficient to explain the peak precipitation amount. Enhancement of precipitation by a transient disturbance probably contributes to the peak amount. The break period during late May coincides with the peak of South China Sea monsoon. Warm advection at 500 hPa strengthens again in June because of the strong zonal thermal contrast between the warm Tibetan Plateau and cold Pacific. This warm advection is able to adequately explain both the upward motion and precipitation. These results indicate that the large-scale meteorological characteristics are different during the first and second peaks.

Corresponding author address: Yasuko Okada, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan. E-mail: y-okada@ees.hokudai.ac.jp
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