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Effect of Teleconnected Land–Atmosphere Coupling on Northeast China Persistent Drought in Spring–Summer of 2017

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  • 1 School of Hydrology and Water Resources, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, and Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and College of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Reducing Disaster of Gansu Province, and Key Open Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction, Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Lanzhou, China
  • | 2 School of Hydrology and Water Resources, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, and Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 3 Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
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Abstract

Northeast China (NEC) suffered a severe drought that persisted from March to July of 2017 with profound impacts on agriculture and society, raising an urgent need to understand the mechanism for persistent droughts over midlatitudes. Previous drought mechanism studies focused on either large-scale teleconnections or local land–atmosphere coupling, while less attention was paid to their synergistic effects on drought persistence. Here we show that the 2017 NEC drought was triggered by a strong positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation in March, and maintained by the anticyclone over the area south to Lake Baikal (ASLB) through a quasi-stationary Rossby wave in April–July, accompanied by sinking motion and north wind anomaly. By using a land–atmosphere coupling index based on the persistence of positive feedbacks between the boundary layer and land surface, we find that the coupling states over NEC and ASLB shifted from a wet coupling in March to a persistently strengthened dry coupling in April–July. Over ASLB, the dry coupling and sinking motion increased surface sensible heat, decreased cloud cover, and weakened longwave absorption, resulting in a diabatic heating anomaly in the lower atmosphere and a diabatic cooling anomaly in the upper atmosphere. This anomalous vertical heating profile led to a negative anomaly of potential vorticity at low levels, indicating that the land–atmosphere coupling had a phase-lock effect on the Rossby wave train originating from upstream areas, and therefore maintained the NEC drought over downstream regions. Our study suggests that an upstream quasi-stationary wave pattern strengthened by land–atmosphere coupling should be considered in diagnosing persistent droughts, especially over northern midlatitudes.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0175.s1.

© 2019 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: Xing Yuan, xyuan@nuist.edu.cn

Abstract

Northeast China (NEC) suffered a severe drought that persisted from March to July of 2017 with profound impacts on agriculture and society, raising an urgent need to understand the mechanism for persistent droughts over midlatitudes. Previous drought mechanism studies focused on either large-scale teleconnections or local land–atmosphere coupling, while less attention was paid to their synergistic effects on drought persistence. Here we show that the 2017 NEC drought was triggered by a strong positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation in March, and maintained by the anticyclone over the area south to Lake Baikal (ASLB) through a quasi-stationary Rossby wave in April–July, accompanied by sinking motion and north wind anomaly. By using a land–atmosphere coupling index based on the persistence of positive feedbacks between the boundary layer and land surface, we find that the coupling states over NEC and ASLB shifted from a wet coupling in March to a persistently strengthened dry coupling in April–July. Over ASLB, the dry coupling and sinking motion increased surface sensible heat, decreased cloud cover, and weakened longwave absorption, resulting in a diabatic heating anomaly in the lower atmosphere and a diabatic cooling anomaly in the upper atmosphere. This anomalous vertical heating profile led to a negative anomaly of potential vorticity at low levels, indicating that the land–atmosphere coupling had a phase-lock effect on the Rossby wave train originating from upstream areas, and therefore maintained the NEC drought over downstream regions. Our study suggests that an upstream quasi-stationary wave pattern strengthened by land–atmosphere coupling should be considered in diagnosing persistent droughts, especially over northern midlatitudes.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0175.s1.

© 2019 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: Xing Yuan, xyuan@nuist.edu.cn

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