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Strengthened Relationships of Northwest China Wintertime Precipitation with ENSO and Midlatitude North Atlantic SST since the Mid-1990s

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  • 1 Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

The present study investigates the interdecadal changes in the relationship between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and midlatitude North Atlantic (MNA) sea surface temperature (SST) with northwest China (NWC) winter precipitation (WP) variability and the plausible causes. Results show that ENSO and MNA SST have weak correlations with NWC WP before the mid-1990s, whereas the connections are enhanced sharply afterward, with above (below) normal precipitation occuring when there are positive (negative) ENSO SST and negative (positive) MNA SST anomalies (SSTA). Remarkable differences are found in the atmospheric circulations. After the mid-1990s, there is a pronounced Pacific–North American–Eurasian (PNA-EU)-like pattern in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas an Arctic Oscillation–like pattern is found before the mid-1990s. The change in the relationships between NWC WP and SSTs is likely attributable to the enhanced connection between ENSO and MNA SST after the mid-1990s. It is found that ENSO and MNA SSTA can cause NWC WP variation independently through atmospheric teleconnections. In addition, significant precipitation anomalies also occur when concurrent but oppositely signed SSTs anomalies in the two regions are observed. The reinforced negative correlations between ENSO and MNA SST after the mid-1990s act in concert on NWC WP by exciting a PNA-EU-like pattern. This information would help us to better understand the physical processes of the teleconnections between NWC WP variability and the ENSO/MNA SST, in which the strength of the correlation between ENSO and MNA SST should be taken into account.

© 2020 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: Lian-Tong Zhou, zlt@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

The present study investigates the interdecadal changes in the relationship between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and midlatitude North Atlantic (MNA) sea surface temperature (SST) with northwest China (NWC) winter precipitation (WP) variability and the plausible causes. Results show that ENSO and MNA SST have weak correlations with NWC WP before the mid-1990s, whereas the connections are enhanced sharply afterward, with above (below) normal precipitation occuring when there are positive (negative) ENSO SST and negative (positive) MNA SST anomalies (SSTA). Remarkable differences are found in the atmospheric circulations. After the mid-1990s, there is a pronounced Pacific–North American–Eurasian (PNA-EU)-like pattern in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas an Arctic Oscillation–like pattern is found before the mid-1990s. The change in the relationships between NWC WP and SSTs is likely attributable to the enhanced connection between ENSO and MNA SST after the mid-1990s. It is found that ENSO and MNA SSTA can cause NWC WP variation independently through atmospheric teleconnections. In addition, significant precipitation anomalies also occur when concurrent but oppositely signed SSTs anomalies in the two regions are observed. The reinforced negative correlations between ENSO and MNA SST after the mid-1990s act in concert on NWC WP by exciting a PNA-EU-like pattern. This information would help us to better understand the physical processes of the teleconnections between NWC WP variability and the ENSO/MNA SST, in which the strength of the correlation between ENSO and MNA SST should be taken into account.

© 2020 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: Lian-Tong Zhou, zlt@mail.iap.ac.cn
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