Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 117–142

The East Asian summer monsoon: an overview

  • Ding Yihui
  • Johnny C. L. Chan

DOI: 10.1007/s00703-005-0125-z

Cite this article as:
Yihui, D. & Chan, J. Meteorol. Atmos. Phys. (2005) 89: 117. doi:10.1007/s00703-005-0125-z


The present paper provides an overview of major problems of the East Asian summer monsoon. The summer monsoon system over East Asia (including the South China Sea (SCS)) cannot be just thought of as the eastward and northward extension of the Indian monsoon. Numerous studies have well documented that the huge Asian summer monsoon system can be divided into two subsystems: the Indian and the East Asian monsoon system which are to a greater extent independent of each other and, at the same time, interact with each other. In this context, the major findings made in recent two decades are summarized below: (1) The earliest onset of the Asian summer monsoon occurs in most of cases in the central and southern Indochina Peninsula. The onset is preceded by development of a BOB (Bay of Bengal) cyclone, the rapid acceleration of low-level westerlies and significant increase of convective activity in both areal extent and intensity in the tropical East Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. (2) The seasonal march of the East Asian summer monsoon displays a distinct stepwise northward and northeastward advance, with two abrupt northward jumps and three stationary periods. The monsoon rain commences over the region from the Indochina Peninsula-the SCS-Philippines during the period from early May to mid-May, then it extends abruptly to the Yangtze River Basin, and western and southern Japan, and the southwestern Philippine Sea in early to mid-June and finally penetrates to North China, Korea and part of Japan, and the topical western West Pacific. (3) After the onset of the Asian summer monsoon, the moisture transport coming from Indochina Peninsula and the South China Sea plays a crucial “switch” role in moisture supply for precipitation in East Asia, thus leading to a dramatic change in climate regime in East Asia and even more remote areas through teleconnection. (4) The East Asian summer monsoon and related seasonal rain belts assumes significant variability at intraseasonal, interannual and interdecadal time scales. Their interaction, i.e., phase locking and in-phase or out-phase superimposing, can to a greater extent control the behaviors of the East Asian summer monsoon and produce unique rythem and singularities. (5) Two external forcing i.e., Pacific and Indian Ocean SSTs and the snow cover in the Eurasia and the Tibetan Plateau, are believed to be primary contributing factors to the activity of the East Asian summer monsoon. However, the internal variability of the atmospheric circulation is also very important. In particular, the blocking highs in mid-and high latitudes of Eurasian continents and the subtropical high over the western North Pacific play a more important role which is quite different from the condition for the South Asian monsoon. The later is of tropical monsoon nature while the former is of hybrid nature of tropical and subtropical monsoon with intense impact from mid-and high latitudes.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ding Yihui
    • 1
  • Johnny C. L. Chan
    • 2
  1. 1.National Climate Center, China Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Physics and Materials ScienceCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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