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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 43, Issue 7–8, pp 1883–1891 | Cite as

Prediction of early summer rainfall over South China by a physical-empirical model

  • So-Young Yim
  • Bin Wang
  • Wen Xing
Article

Abstract

In early summer (May–June, MJ) the strongest rainfall belt of the northern hemisphere occurs over the East Asian (EA) subtropical front. During this period the South China (SC) rainfall reaches its annual peak and represents the maximum rainfall variability over EA. Hence we establish an SC rainfall index, which is the MJ mean precipitation averaged over 72 stations over SC (south of 28°N and east of 110°E) and represents superbly the leading empirical orthogonal function mode of MJ precipitation variability over EA. In order to predict SC rainfall, we established a physical-empirical model. Analysis of 34-year observations (1979–2012) reveals three physically consequential predictors. A plentiful SC rainfall is preceded in the previous winter by (a) a dipole sea surface temperature (SST) tendency in the Indo-Pacific warm pool, (b) a tripolar SST tendency in North Atlantic Ocean, and (c) a warming tendency in northern Asia. These precursors foreshadow enhanced Philippine Sea subtropical High and Okhotsk High in early summer, which are controlling factors for enhanced subtropical frontal rainfall. The physical empirical model built on these predictors achieves a cross-validated forecast correlation skill of 0.75 for 1979–2012. Surprisingly, this skill is substantially higher than four-dynamical models’ ensemble prediction for 1979–2010 period (0.15). The results here suggest that the low prediction skill of current dynamical models is largely due to models’ deficiency and the dynamical prediction has large room to improve.

Keywords

South China rainfall index (SCRI) East Asian subtropical front Indo-Pacific warm pool SST North Atlantic Ocean Philippine Sea subtropical High Okhotsk High Physical-empirical model 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported from Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Center, the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) through a Global Research Laboratory (GRL) grant (MEST 2011-0021927), and IPRC, which is in part supported by JAMSTEC, NOAA, and NASA. This is the SOEST publication number 9048 and IPRC publication number 1029.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Pacific Research CenterUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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