The Extreme Drought Event during Winter–Spring of 2011 in East China: Combined Influences of Teleconnection in Midhigh Latitudes and Thermal Forcing in Maritime Continent Region

Dachao Jin Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China

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Zhaoyong Guan Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China

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Weiya Tang Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China

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Abstract

The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River (MLRYR) in China experienced an extremely severe and persistent drought event from January to May of 2011. Using both the observational data and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, features of the drought event and the related circulation anomalies were investigated. It is found that the precipitation during the investigated period of 2011 was deficient mostly along the Yangtze River. The water vapor diverged from MLRYR southward into the Bay of Bengal, South China Sea, and the Philippines. There were two factors facilitating the drought event. One was the quasi-stationary Rossby wave–related teleconnection, which propagated eastward at midhigh latitudes from the North Atlantic to East Asia, reinforcing the Siberian high and the East Asian trough, henceforth resulting in the divergence anomalies in MLRYR in the lower troposphere. This quasi-stationary wave train, though originating from the North Atlantic region, was not essentially related to the North Atlantic Oscillation. Another factor for the drought event was the persistent anomalous thermal forcing over the Maritime Continent, which induced the anomalous divergence in the upper troposphere in this region, building up an anomalous Hadley circulation with its ascent branch over the Maritime Continent and descent branch over MLRYR. This thermal forcing was possibly, but not necessarily, related to the La Niña event. The persistence of the drought event over MLRYR was due to the maintenance of the quasi-stationary waves at midhigh latitudes and the persistent anomalous thermal forcing in the Maritime Continent.

Corresponding author address: Zhaoyong Guan, Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, 219 Ningliu Rd., Nanjing 210044, Jiangsu, China. E-mail: guanzy@nuist.edu.cn

Abstract

The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River (MLRYR) in China experienced an extremely severe and persistent drought event from January to May of 2011. Using both the observational data and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, features of the drought event and the related circulation anomalies were investigated. It is found that the precipitation during the investigated period of 2011 was deficient mostly along the Yangtze River. The water vapor diverged from MLRYR southward into the Bay of Bengal, South China Sea, and the Philippines. There were two factors facilitating the drought event. One was the quasi-stationary Rossby wave–related teleconnection, which propagated eastward at midhigh latitudes from the North Atlantic to East Asia, reinforcing the Siberian high and the East Asian trough, henceforth resulting in the divergence anomalies in MLRYR in the lower troposphere. This quasi-stationary wave train, though originating from the North Atlantic region, was not essentially related to the North Atlantic Oscillation. Another factor for the drought event was the persistent anomalous thermal forcing over the Maritime Continent, which induced the anomalous divergence in the upper troposphere in this region, building up an anomalous Hadley circulation with its ascent branch over the Maritime Continent and descent branch over MLRYR. This thermal forcing was possibly, but not necessarily, related to the La Niña event. The persistence of the drought event over MLRYR was due to the maintenance of the quasi-stationary waves at midhigh latitudes and the persistent anomalous thermal forcing in the Maritime Continent.

Corresponding author address: Zhaoyong Guan, Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, 219 Ningliu Rd., Nanjing 210044, Jiangsu, China. E-mail: guanzy@nuist.edu.cn
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