We thank editor James Renwick and four anonymous reviewers who have provided thorough reviews of this paper. We also thank Drs. Rongqing Han and Changzheng Liu of the CMA National Climate Center and Dr. Kingtse Mo of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center for a number of helpful discussions. This work was jointly supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2009DFA23010) and the NOAA-CMA bilateral program. Hu was partially supported by the NOAA CVP Program (NA07OAR4310310), NSF ATM-0830068, NOAA NA09OAR4310058, and NASA NNX09AN50G.
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