Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 11–12, pp 4271–4286 | Cite as

Quantifying oceanic moisture exports to mainland China in association with summer precipitation

  • Bin Chen
  • Xiang-De Xu
  • TianLiang Zhao


Oceanic moisture exports (OMEs) are considered the major moisture sources for precipitation over Mainland China during the boreal summer season. In this study, a Lagrangian particle dispersion and transport model [FLEXible PARTicle dispersion model (FLEXPART)] driven with European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis (ERA)-Interim data was used to conduct 35-year modeling of the summer season (May–August) for 1980–2014. Based on the 6-h output over 35 years, a relatively sophisticated approach was adopted that considers the change in specific humidity with trajectory tracking to diagnose OME-based precipitation during the summer season in China. We specifically explored the spatiotemporal structure of OME-based precipitation over Mainland China with a focus on quantifying the relative contributions of three specific oceanic sub-regions: the Arabian Sea (AS), the Bay of Bengal (BOB), and the South China Sea (SCS). The relevance of the OME anomalies from the three sub-regions and the observed precipitation changes on an interannual scale were also explored. The main research conclusions are summarized as follows: (1) The diagnosed OME-based precipitation and gauge observations exhibit similar spatial patterns in both seasonal and sub-seasonal scales, further evidencing the robustness of the approach used in this study. (2) Climatologically, the OMEs originating from the AS, the BOB, and the SCS made roughly equivalent contributions to the entire areal-averaged precipitation over Mainland China on a seasonal scale, but the preferred regions influenced by the three oceanic sources differ strongly from each other. (3) The relative contributions of OME from three specific subsections to precipitation varied significantly on the sub-seasonal scale. During the onset of summer monsoons, the AS region ranked first as an important oceanic source, followed by the BOB and the SCS, whereas during the withdrawal of summer monsoons, this order was reversed. (4) The interannual anomalies of OME-based precipitation from the SCS and the BOB regions are negatively correlated with those outside the AS region.


Oceanic moisture export Asian summer monsoon precipitation Lagrangian approach Sub-seasonal variation Interannual variability 



This research was jointly funded by the Training Program of the Major Research Plan of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 91637102), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 41475036), China Special Fund for Meteorological Research in the Public Interest (Grant No. GYHY20146001), and Basic Research Fund of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences (Grant no. 2017Z013). We thank the European Centre of Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) for providing the ERA-Interim reanalysis data. The authors are also grateful for the FLEXPART model, which is available at National Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration (NMC/CMA) provided the precipitation data used in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Severe WeatherChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Key Laboratory for Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation of China Meteorological AdministrationNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina

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