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Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 108, Issue 1–2, pp 119–133 | Cite as

Interdecadal change in the relationship of southern China summer rainfall with tropical Indo-Pacific SST

  • Renguang Wu
  • Song Yang
  • Zhiping Wen
  • Gang Huang
  • Kaiming Hu
Original Paper

Abstract

The present study investigates the interdecadal change in the relationship between southern China (SC) summer rainfall and tropical Indo-Pacific sea surface temperature (SST). It is found that the pattern of tropical Indo-Pacific SST anomalies associated with SC summer rainfall variability tends to be opposite between the 1950–1960s and the 1980-1990s. Above-normal SC rainfall corresponds to warmer SST in the tropical southeastern Indian Ocean (SEIO) and cooler SST in the equatorial central Pacific (ECP) during the 1950–1960s but opposite SST anomalies in these regions during the 1980–1990s. A pronounced difference is also found in anomalous atmospheric circulation linking SEIO SST and SC rainfall between the two periods. In the 1950–1960s, two anomalous vertical circulations are present between ascent over SEIO and ascent over SC, with a common branch of descent over the South China Sea that is accompanied by an anomalous low-level anticyclone. In the 1980–1990s, however, a single anomalous vertical circulation directly connects ascent over SC to descent over SEIO. The change in the rainfall–SST relationship is likely related to a change in the magnitude of SEIO SST forcing and a change in the atmospheric response to the SST forcing due to different mean states. A larger SEIO SST forcing coupled with a stronger and more extensive western North Pacific subtropical high in recent decades induce circulation anomalies reaching higher latitudes, influencing SC directly. Present analysis shows that the SEIO and ECP SST anomalies can contribute to SC summer rainfall variability both independently and in concert. In comparison, there are more cases of concerted contributions due to the co-variability between the Indian and Pacific Ocean SSTs.

Keywords

Western North Pacific Western North Pacific Subtropical High Southern China Equatorial Central Pacific Southern China Summer Rainfall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their comments. RW acknowledge the support of a Direct Grant from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2021090). HG and KH are supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 40890155, U0733002, and 40810059005).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renguang Wu
    • 1
    • 5
  • Song Yang
    • 2
  • Zhiping Wen
    • 3
  • Gang Huang
    • 4
  • Kaiming Hu
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Space and Earth Information Science and Department of PhysicsThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.Climate Prediction Center, NOAACamp SpringsUSA
  3. 3.Center for Monsoon and Environment ResearchSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, Fok Ying Tung Remote Sensing Science BuildingThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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