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Jian Shi and Weihong Qian


Using the daily mean anomalies of atmospheric variables from the NCEP Reanalysis-1 (NCEP R1), this study reveals the connection between anomalous zonal activities of the South Asian high (SAH) and Eurasian climate anomalies in boreal summer. An analysis of variance identifies two major domains with larger geopotential height variability located in the eastern and western flanks of the SAH at around 100 and 150 hPa, respectively. For both eastern and western domains, extreme events are selected during 1981–2014 when normalized height anomalies are greater than 1.0 (less than −1.0) standard deviation for at least 10 consecutive days. Based on these events, four SAH modes that include strong and weak Tibetan modes (STM and WTM, respectively) and strong and weak Iranian modes (SIM and WIM, respectively) are defined to depict the zonal SAH features. The positive composite in the eastern (western) domain indicates the STM (SIM) manifests a robust wavelike pattern with an anomalous low at 150 hPa, and surface cold and wet anomalies over Mongolia and northern China (Kazakhstan and western Siberia) are surrounded by three anomalous highs at 150 hPa and surface warm and dry anomalies over Eurasia. Opposite distributions are also evident in the negative composites of the two domains (WTM and WIM). The surface air temperature anomalies are the downward extension of an anomalous air column aloft while the precipitation anomalies are directly associated with the height anomalies above the air column.

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Weihong Qian, Lingshen Quan, and Shaoyin Shi


In previous studies, limited meteorological observations were used to investigate the temporal–spatial changes of dust storms in China. Here, the authors use the daily 850-hPa geopotential height of NCEP–NCAR reanalysis for 1948–99 to examine the vortex fluctuations, which represent daily cyclone activity in east Asia. They also use the 1000-hPa air temperature data to explain the decadal change of the cyclone activity. In addition, the grid cyclone frequency for 1948–99 and the temperature and precipitation for 1950–98 are used to calculate the correlation with the dust weather frequency (for 1954–98) in China.

Results show that the interannual variability and long-term trend among dust storm frequency, dust weather frequency, air temperature, and cyclone frequency exist in northern China. In the eastern part of China, the frequencies of dust storms and dust weather in the 1950s–70s were about twice that after the mid-1980s. The reason for this feature may be due to the warming in Mongolia and cooling in northern China that reduced the meridional temperature gradient, resulting in the reduced cyclone frequency in northern China. In the Tarim Basin, the high-frequency dust storms have been attributed to less precipitation and to the arid-heating climate.

The frequency of dust storms (dust weather) is strongly related to the low air temperature in the prior winter season and the high-frequency cyclone activity in the spring season for most parts of eastern China. Based on this relationship, an index describing the dust weather (dust storm) frequency has been formulated. This index can well calibrate the variability of dust weather (dust storms) in northern China, except for the Xinjiang region in far northwest China.

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