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Out-of-Phase Relationship between Boreal Spring and Summer Decadal Rainfall Changes in Southern China

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  • 1 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, and School of Atmospheric Science, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • | 2 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, and School of Atmospheric Science, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, and International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • | 3 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, and School of Atmospheric Science, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
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Abstract

A multivariate empirical orthogonal function (MV-EOF) analysis for 1979–2010 shows that low-level circulation and rainfall over East Asia experienced a significant decadal shift around the mid-1990s. During boreal spring (March–May), the first principal component (PC) of the MV-EOF exhibits a marked decadal change around the mid-1990s, while during boreal summer (June–August) the second PC shows a pronounced decadal shift around the same time. It is further noted that the decadal rainfall change over southern China experienced an out-of-phase relationship between boreal spring and summer; that is, from the pre-1994 to the post-1994 period, the rainfall tends to decrease in boreal spring but increase in boreal summer.

A mechanism is put forward to explain the out-of-phase decadal rainfall change over southern China between boreal spring and summer. In boreal spring, the composite differences of SST between the latter and former decadal periods indicate a La Niña–like pattern with warming in the western Pacific and cooling in the eastern Pacific. This pattern leads the enhanced convection over the Maritime Continent, which may further induce anomalous subsidence and thus negative rainfall anomalies over southern China through the local Hadley circulation. In boreal summer, dominant decadal SST warming appears in the entire tropical Indian Ocean while the negative SST anomalies in eastern Pacific are much weaker. The warm SST anomaly over the Indian Ocean leads to suppressed convection over the Maritime Continent, which, through the local Hadley cell, favors the strengthening the East Asian monsoon trough and leads to a positive rainfall anomaly over southern China.

School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Contribution Number 9014 and International Pacific Research Center Publication Contribution Number 1019.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Tim Li, International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. E-mail: timli@hawaii.edu

Abstract

A multivariate empirical orthogonal function (MV-EOF) analysis for 1979–2010 shows that low-level circulation and rainfall over East Asia experienced a significant decadal shift around the mid-1990s. During boreal spring (March–May), the first principal component (PC) of the MV-EOF exhibits a marked decadal change around the mid-1990s, while during boreal summer (June–August) the second PC shows a pronounced decadal shift around the same time. It is further noted that the decadal rainfall change over southern China experienced an out-of-phase relationship between boreal spring and summer; that is, from the pre-1994 to the post-1994 period, the rainfall tends to decrease in boreal spring but increase in boreal summer.

A mechanism is put forward to explain the out-of-phase decadal rainfall change over southern China between boreal spring and summer. In boreal spring, the composite differences of SST between the latter and former decadal periods indicate a La Niña–like pattern with warming in the western Pacific and cooling in the eastern Pacific. This pattern leads the enhanced convection over the Maritime Continent, which may further induce anomalous subsidence and thus negative rainfall anomalies over southern China through the local Hadley circulation. In boreal summer, dominant decadal SST warming appears in the entire tropical Indian Ocean while the negative SST anomalies in eastern Pacific are much weaker. The warm SST anomaly over the Indian Ocean leads to suppressed convection over the Maritime Continent, which, through the local Hadley cell, favors the strengthening the East Asian monsoon trough and leads to a positive rainfall anomaly over southern China.

School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Contribution Number 9014 and International Pacific Research Center Publication Contribution Number 1019.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Tim Li, International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. E-mail: timli@hawaii.edu
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