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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 47, Issue 9–10, pp 3203–3220 | Cite as

Interdecadal modulation of ENSO-related spring rainfall over South China by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation

  • Xiaofei Wu
  • Jiangyu Mao
Article

Abstract

The interdecadal modulation of the relationship between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the South China spring rainfall (SCSR) by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is investigated using long-term observational datasets. When ENSO and PDO are in-phase [i.e., El Niño events during warm PDO (EN_WPDO) and La Niña events during cold PDO (LN_CPDO)], the positive correlations between ENSO and SCSR are enhanced significantly, with above-normal (below-normal) SCSR generally following EN_WPDO (LN_CPDO) events. In contrast, the ENSO–SCSR relationship becomes ambiguous when ENSO and PDO are out-of-phase [i.e., El Niño events during cold PDO (EN_CPDO) and La Niña events during warm PDO (LN_WPDO)]. The PDO modulates the ENSO–SCSR relationship through the impact of variations in the lower-tropospheric subtropical anticyclone over the western North Pacific (WNP) and upper-tropospheric westerly jets over East Asia and the midlatitude North Pacific. An EN_WPDO (LN_CPDO) event induces an enhanced subtropical anticyclone (cyclone) over the WNP and intensified (weakened) subtropical westerly jet around the southern Tibetan Plateau due to modification by the PDO-forced anomalous circulation. Thus, South China falls just under the influence of the anomalous lower-tropospheric southwesterlies (northeasterlies) and upper-tropospheric divergent (convergent) environment, leading to above-normal (below-normal) SCSR. In contrast, the SCSR anomalies exhibit no wet or dry preference following EN_CPDO (LN_CPDO) events, because ENSO-induced and PDO-forced circulation anomalies tend to cancel each other out. These modulating effects by the PDO on the ENSO–SCSR relationship and related physical processes are also examined with coupled model simulations.

Keywords

Interdecadal modulation South China spring rainfall ENSO Pacific Decadal Oscillation Coupled model simulation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions. This research was jointly supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB953902, 2012CB955202, and 2012CB417203), the Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA11010402), and the Natural Science Foundation of China (41175059, 41375087, and 91537103).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG), Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Joint Center for Global Change StudiesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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