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Seasonal Variation of the Westerly Jet over Asia in the Last Glacial Maximum: Role of the Tibetan Plateau Heating

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  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an, China
  • 2 Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an, China
  • 3 Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China
  • 4 Open Studio for Oceanic-Continental Climate and Environment Changes, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China
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Abstract

The westerly jet (WJ) is an important component of atmospheric circulation, which is characterized by prominent seasonal variations in intensity and position. However, the response of the WJ over Asia during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is still not clear. Using general circulation model experiments, the seasonal behaviors of the WJ over central Asia and Japan are analyzed in this paper. The results show that, compared to the present day (PD), the WJ presents a complicated response during the LGM, both in intensity and position. Over central Asia, it becomes weaker in both summer and winter. But over Japan, it is enhanced in summer but becomes diminished in winter. In terms of position, the WJ over central Asia shifts southward in both summer and winter, whereas the WJ over Japan moves southward in summer but does not change obviously relative to PD in winter. Such WJ changes are well explained by meridional temperature gradients in high troposphere, which is closely linked to seasonal thermal anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Despite cooler LGM conditions, the anomalous warming center over the TP becomes stronger in summer. Derived from the heat budget equation, the stronger heating center is mainly caused by the weaker adiabatic cooling generated from ascending motion over the area south of the TP. In winter, the cooling over the TP is also strengthened, mostly owing to the subsidence-induced weaker adiabatic heating. Due to the importance of the WJ, the potential role of TP thermal effects should be a focus when explaining the East Asian climate change during the LGM.

© 2021 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: Zhengguo Shi, shizg@ieecas.cn

Abstract

The westerly jet (WJ) is an important component of atmospheric circulation, which is characterized by prominent seasonal variations in intensity and position. However, the response of the WJ over Asia during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is still not clear. Using general circulation model experiments, the seasonal behaviors of the WJ over central Asia and Japan are analyzed in this paper. The results show that, compared to the present day (PD), the WJ presents a complicated response during the LGM, both in intensity and position. Over central Asia, it becomes weaker in both summer and winter. But over Japan, it is enhanced in summer but becomes diminished in winter. In terms of position, the WJ over central Asia shifts southward in both summer and winter, whereas the WJ over Japan moves southward in summer but does not change obviously relative to PD in winter. Such WJ changes are well explained by meridional temperature gradients in high troposphere, which is closely linked to seasonal thermal anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Despite cooler LGM conditions, the anomalous warming center over the TP becomes stronger in summer. Derived from the heat budget equation, the stronger heating center is mainly caused by the weaker adiabatic cooling generated from ascending motion over the area south of the TP. In winter, the cooling over the TP is also strengthened, mostly owing to the subsidence-induced weaker adiabatic heating. Due to the importance of the WJ, the potential role of TP thermal effects should be a focus when explaining the East Asian climate change during the LGM.

© 2021 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: Zhengguo Shi, shizg@ieecas.cn
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