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Biao Chen, Huiling Qin, Guixing Chen, and Huijie Xue

Abstract

The sea surface salinity (SSS) varies largely as a result of the evaporation–precipitation difference, indicating the source or sink of regional/global water vapor. This study identifies a relationship between the spring SSS in the tropical northwest Pacific (TNWP) and the summer rainfall of the East Asian monsoon region (EAMR) during 1980–2017. Analysis suggests that the SSS–rainfall link involves the coupled ocean–atmosphere–land processes with a multifacet evolution. In spring, evaporation and water vapor flux divergence were enhanced in some years over the TNWP where an anomalous atmospheric anticyclone was established and a high SSS was well observed. As a result, the convergence of water vapor flux and soil moisture over the EAMR was strengthened. This ocean-to-land water vapor transport pattern was sustained from spring to summer and played a leading role in the EAMR rainfall. Moreover, the change in local spring soil moisture helped to amplify the summer rainfall by modifying surface thermal conditions and precipitation systems over the EAMR. As the multifacet evolution is closely related to the large-scale ocean-to-land water vapor transport, it can be well represented by the spring SSS in the TNWP. A random forest regression algorithm was used to further evaluate the relative importance of spring SSS in predicting summer rainfall compared to other climate indices. As the SSS is now monitored routinely by satellite and the global Argo float array, it can serve as a good metric for measuring the water cycle and as a precursor for predicting the EAMR rainfall.

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Feng Nan, Huijie Xue, Fei Chai, Dongxiao Wang, Fei Yu, Maochong Shi, Peifang Guo, and Peng Xiu

Abstract

Inferred from the satellite and in situ hydrographic data from the 1990s and 2000s, the Kuroshio intrusion into the South China Sea (SCS) had a weakening trend over the past two decades. Associated with the weakened Kuroshio intrusion, the Kuroshio loop and eddy activity southwest of Taiwan became weaker, whereas the water above the salinity minimum became less saline in the northern SCS. The sea surface height southwest of Taiwan increased at a slower rate compared to other regions of the SCS because of the weakened Kuroshio intrusion. Simulations using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) Pacific model show that the strength of the Kuroshio intrusion into the SCS decreased from 1993 to 2010 with a negative trend, −0.24 sverdrups (Sv) yr−1 (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1), in the total Luzon Strait transport (LST). Although wind-induced Ekman transport through the Luzon Strait became weaker, the magnitude at 0.001 Sv yr−1 was too small to compensate for the negative trend of the LST. On the other hand, the piling up of the water induced by monsoon winds was an important mechanism for changing the pressure gradient across the Luzon Strait and eventually affecting the LST. The sea level gradient between the western Pacific and the SCS had a negative trend, −0.10 cm yr−1, corresponding to a negative trend in the geostrophic transport at −0.20 Sv yr−1. The Kuroshio transport east of Luzon Island also had a negative trend, which might also be linked to the weakening Kuroshio intrusion.

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