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CR 78:51-67 (2019)  -  DOI:

The salient differences in China summer rainfall response to ENSO: phases, intensities and flavors

Xuejie Zhao1,2, Jian Rao1,2,*, Jiangyu Mao1,2

1Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education (KLME) / Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change (ILCEC) / Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters (CIC-FEMD), Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
2State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Using monthly precipitation data and the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis dataset, the salient differences in Chinese summer rainfall in response to moderate eastern/central Pacific El Niño (MEPE/MCPE), extreme strong El Niño (SE), and moderate eastern/central Pacific La Niña (MEPL/MCPL) events are investigated. The distribution of Chinese summer rainfall anomalies varies with the phases, intensities and flavors (i.e. eastern/central Pacific patterns) of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events through the general circulation change. On average, the correlation between ENSO and Chinese summer rainfall anomaly is positive in the Yellow River valley and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, but is negative in East China, part of Northeast China, and South China. The western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) extends westward and the South Asian High (SAH) extends eastward during the MCPE and SE decaying summers, leading to enhanced upwelling motions and strong water vapor convergence over the Yangtze River valley. As a result, positive rainfall anomalies appear in this region. In contrast, no significant rainfall anomalies form along the Yangtze River valley during the MEPE decaying summer. During La Niña decaying summers and especially the MEPL decaying summer, both the WPSH and SAH shrink. The rainfall anomalies during the MEPL decaying summer exhibit a dipole pattern: dry (wet) to the north (south) of the Yangtze River. However, patches of significant negative rainfall anomalies appear during the MCPL decaying summer. As the maximum SST anomaly center shifts between different ENSO flavors, the anomalous anticyclone/cyclone in the western North Pacific also sways in its zonal position.

KEY WORDS: El Niño · La Niña · Summer rainfall · Western Pacific subtropical high · South Asian High

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Cite this article as: Zhao X, Rao J, Mao J (2019) The salient differences in China summer rainfall response to ENSO: phases, intensities and flavors. Clim Res 78:51-67.

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