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Xiao Feng, Renguang Wu, Jiepeng Chen, and Zhiping Wen

Abstract

The present study investigates the year-to-year variations of September–October rainfall in Hainan, China, for the period 1965–2010. The dominant circulation anomalies feature a cyclone (an anticyclone) over the Indochina Peninsula and northern South China Sea, an anticyclone (a cyclone) over subtropical western North Pacific and lower-level convergence (divergence) over the Maritime Continent in the wet (dry) years. These circulation anomalies are responses to an east–west sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly pattern with negative (positive) SST anomalies in the equatorial central Pacific and positive (negative) SST anomalies around the Maritime Continent in the wet (dry) years. Although the SST anomaly pattern is similar (but with opposite anomaly), the SST signal in the equatorial central Pacific is more significant in the dry years than in the wet years. This difference indicates a larger case-to-case variability in the wet years than in the dry years. The large variability in the wet years is attributed to contributions of tropical cyclones (TCs) and intraseasonal oscillations (ISOs). There are more TCs impinging on Hainan and the TC tracks are closer to the island in the wet years than in the dry years. The rainfall shows large intraseasonal variations with periods of 10–20 and 30–60 days during September–October in the wet years. The 10–20-day ISO originates from the Maritime Continent, whereas the 30–60-day ISO develops over tropical Indian Ocean and propagates northeastward to northern South China Sea. In contrast, the ISO signal is much weaker in the dry years.

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Jiepeng Chen, Jin-Yi Yu, Xin Wang, and Tao Lian

ABSTRACT

Previous studies linked the increase of the middle and low reaches of the Yangtze River (MLRYR) rainfall to tropical Indian Ocean warming during extreme El Niños’ (e.g., 1982/83 and 1997/98 extreme El Niños) decaying summer. This study finds the linkage to be different for the recent 2015/16 extreme El Niño’s decaying summer, during which the above-normal rainfalls over MLRYR and northern China are respectively linked to southeastern Indian Ocean warming and western tropical Indian Ocean cooling in sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The southeastern Indian Ocean warming helps to maintain the El Niño–induced anomalous lower-level anticyclone over the western North Pacific Ocean and southern China, which enhances moisture transport to increase rainfall over MLRYR. The western tropical Indian Ocean cooling first enhances the rainfall over central-northern India through a regional atmospheric circulation, the latent heating of which further excites a midlatitude Asian teleconnection pattern (part of circumglobal teleconnection) that results in an above-normal rainfall over northern China. The western tropical Indian Ocean cooling during the 2015/16 extreme El Niño is contributed by the increased upward latent heat flux anomalies associated with enhanced surface wind speeds, opposite to the earlier two extreme El Niños.

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Jiepeng Chen, Xin Wang, Wen Zhou, Chunzai Wang, Qiang Xie, Gang Li, and Sheng Chen

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that the anomalous western North Pacific anticyclone (WNPAC) can generally persist from an El Niño mature winter to the subsequent summer, influencing southern China precipitation significantly, where southern China includes the Yangtze River valley and South China. Since the late 1970s, three extreme El Niño events have been recorded: 1982/83, 1997/98, and 2015/16. There was a sharp contrast in the change in southern China rainfall and corresponding atmospheric circulations in the decaying August between the 2015/16 extreme El Niño event and the earlier two extreme El Niño events. Enhanced rainfall in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River and suppressed rainfall over South China resulted from basinwide warming in the tropical Indian Ocean induced by the extreme El Niño in August 1983 and 1998, which was consistent with previous studies. However, an anomalous western North Pacific cyclone emerged in August 2016 and then caused positive rainfall anomalies over South China and negative rainfall anomalies from the Yangtze River to the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. Without considering the effect of the long-term global warming trend, in August 2016 the negative SST anomalies over the western Indian Ocean and cooling in the north tropical Atlantic contributed to the anomalous western North Pacific cyclone and a rainfall anomaly pattern with opposite anomalies in South China and the Yangtze River region. Numerical experiments with the CAM5 model are conducted to confirm that cooler SST in the western Indian Ocean contributed more than cooler SST in the north tropical Atlantic to the anomalous western North Pacific cyclone and anomalous South China rainfall.

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