Contribution of Tropical Cyclones to Atmospheric Moisture Transport and Rainfall over East Asia

Liang Guo National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Nicholas P. Klingaman National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Pier Luigi Vidale National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Andrew G. Turner National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Marie-Estelle Demory National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Alison Cobb Department of Physics, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom

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Abstract

The coastal region of East Asia (EA) is one of the regions with the most frequent impacts from tropical cyclones (TCs). In this study, rainfall and moisture transports related to TCs are measured over EA, and the contribution of TCs to the regional water budget is compared with other contributors, especially the mean circulation of the EA summer monsoon (EASM). Based on ERA-Interim reanalysis (1979–2012), the trajectories of TCs are identified using an objective feature tracking method. Over 60% of TCs occur from July to October (JASO). During JASO, TC rainfall contributes 10%–30% of the monthly total rainfall over the coastal region of EA; this contribution is highest over the south/southeast coast of China in September. TCs make a larger contribution to daily extreme rainfall (above the 95th percentile): 50%–60% over the EA coast and as high as 70% over Taiwan Island. Compared with the mean EASM, TCs transport less moisture over EA. However, as the peak of the mean seasonal cycle of TCs lags two months behind that of the EASM, the moisture transported by TCs is an important source for the water budget over the EA region when the EASM withdraws. This moisture transport is largely performed by westward-moving TCs. These results improve understanding of the water cycle of EA and provide a useful test bed for evaluating and improving seasonal forecasts and coupled climate models.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Liang Guo, l.guo@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

The coastal region of East Asia (EA) is one of the regions with the most frequent impacts from tropical cyclones (TCs). In this study, rainfall and moisture transports related to TCs are measured over EA, and the contribution of TCs to the regional water budget is compared with other contributors, especially the mean circulation of the EA summer monsoon (EASM). Based on ERA-Interim reanalysis (1979–2012), the trajectories of TCs are identified using an objective feature tracking method. Over 60% of TCs occur from July to October (JASO). During JASO, TC rainfall contributes 10%–30% of the monthly total rainfall over the coastal region of EA; this contribution is highest over the south/southeast coast of China in September. TCs make a larger contribution to daily extreme rainfall (above the 95th percentile): 50%–60% over the EA coast and as high as 70% over Taiwan Island. Compared with the mean EASM, TCs transport less moisture over EA. However, as the peak of the mean seasonal cycle of TCs lags two months behind that of the EASM, the moisture transported by TCs is an important source for the water budget over the EA region when the EASM withdraws. This moisture transport is largely performed by westward-moving TCs. These results improve understanding of the water cycle of EA and provide a useful test bed for evaluating and improving seasonal forecasts and coupled climate models.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Liang Guo, l.guo@reading.ac.uk
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