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A relationship between planetary waves and persistent rain- and thunderstorms in China

Zusammenhänge zwischen planetaren Wellen und anhaltenden Regen- und Gewitterstürmen in China

Summary

A spectral study of long planetary waves indicates that major and persistent heavy rains and severe thunderstorms in China during the past 50 years were closely related to specific anomalous large-scale circulation patterns, such as blocking highs over East Asia. As the heavy rains of Meiyü occur, such blocking develops at high latitudes, in particular over the Sea of Okhotsk and over Lake Baikal. A southward shift of the westerlies allows upper troughs to pass over the Tibetan Plateau and low pressure disturbances, generated over the plateau area, successively move along the Yangzi River valley, causing prolonged and heavy rainfall. The establishment of an upper trough over the Bay of Bengal also provides an important condition for heavy rainfall in South China. In North and Northwest China, large-scale circulation patterns responsible for heavy rainfall events are characterized by the establishment and slow regression of a high-pressure system over the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk, or by the rapid amplification of long-wave ridges into blocking ridges near the position of seasonal-mean troughs. Owing to the blocking action of these ridges, the rain-bearing synoptic systems (typhoons, upper troughs and low-level vortices) often undergo sudden changes in their tracks or tend to slow down, becoming nearly stationary, thus enhancing and prolonging the heavy rainfall events. At the same time, a well-developed low-pressure zone in the tropics and subtropics helps to establish a strong, low-level easterly wind, which often assumes the intensity of a low-level jet. This flow configuration offers a major moisture supply for heavy rains.

The study also reveals that ultralong planetary waves during heavy rainfall are more stationary than under climatological mean conditions. The departures from normal of their phase angles appear to be an important factor in generating heavy rain and severe thunderstorm episodes.

Zusammenfassung

Spektrale Studien der planetaren Langwellen zeigen, daß schwere und anhaltende Niederschläge in China während der vergangenen 50 Jahre eng mit bestimmten Anomalien in der großräumigen Zirkulation, wie z.B. mit blockierenden Hochdruckgebieten über Ostasien, im Einklang stehen. Die schweren Niederschläge der Meiyü-Saison fallen während der Entwicklung solcher Hochdruckgebiete in höheren Breiten, vorzugsweise über dem Ochotskischen und dem Japanischen Meer und über dem Baikalsee. Eine Südwärtsverlagerung der Westwindzone ermöglicht es den Höhentrögen, über das Plateau von Tibet vorzudringen. Dort werden Tiefdruckstörungen erzeugt, die dann entlang des Yangzi-Tales ostwärts wandern und anhaltende, schwere Niederschläge verursachen. Das Auftreten eines Höhentroges über der Bucht von Bengalen scheint ebenfalls für schwere Regenfälle in Südchina von Bedeutung zu sein.

Die Zirkulationsbedingungen für Starkregen in Nord- und Nordostchina sind durch das Auftreten und die langsame Westwärtsverlagerung eines Hochdruckrückens über dem Japanischen und Ochotskischen Meer charakterisiert. Die schnelle Verstärkung eines Hochdruckrückens in eine blockierende Antizyklone in der jahreszeitlichen Mittelposition eines Höhentroges ist ebenfalls von Bedeutung. Infolge der blockierten Höhenströmung unterlaufen die niederschlagsproduzierenden synoptischen Systeme (Taifune, Höhentröge und niedertroposphärische Wirbel) oftmals plötzlichen Zugbahnänderungen, Verlangsamungen oder völligem Stillstand. Dadurch wird die Niederschlagstätigkeit verstärkt und verlängert. Gleichzeitig hilft die Entwicklung von Tiefdruckzonen in den Tropen und Subtropen bei der Erzeugung einer östlichen Strömung, die oftmals die Intensität eines niedertroposphärischen Strahlstroms erreicht. Diese Ostströmung zeugt für den nötigen Feuchtenachschub in die Regengebiete.

Die vorliegende Studie zeigt, daß die ultralangen, planetaren Wellen während Starkregenperioden eine stärkere Tendenz zur Stationarität, aufweisen, als den klimatologischen Mittelbedingungen entsprechen würde. Abweichungen der Phasenwinkel von den Normalpositionen scheinen ebenfalls ein wichtiger Faktor in der Entstehung von Starkregen- und Gewitterperioden zu sein.

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Ding, Yh., Reiter, E.R. A relationship between planetary waves and persistent rain- and thunderstorms in China. Arch. Met. Geoph. Biocl., Ser. B 31, 221–252 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02278295

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Keywords

  • Tibetan Plateau
  • Heavy Rainfall
  • Heavy Rain
  • Planetary Wave
  • Shear Line