The influence of shelf-sea fronts on winter monsoon over East China Sea
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Strong sea surface temperature fronts in open seas are known to affect the atmosphere. Shelf-sea fronts in winter have comparable strengths, yet their impacts on winds have not been studied. In January of 2012, a persistent, narrow band of cloud stretching 600–1,000 km was observed along the front of East China Sea (ECS). Numerical and analytical models show that the cloud was formed atop a recirculating cell induced by the front and, more generally, that β-plumes of low and high pressures emanate and spread far from fronts. Consistent with the theory, observations show that in ECS at inter-annual time scales, strong fronts co-vary with on-shelf convergent wind, strong northeasterly monsoon, and alongshelf alignment of clouds with low clouds near the coast and higher clouds offshore. Our results suggest that shelf-sea fronts are potentially an important dynamic determinant of climate variability of East Asia.
KeywordsWinter winds and climate SST fronts East Asian winter monsoon Shelf-sea fronts Air–sea coupling Hadley cell
Authors thank the reviewers and editor, Dr. Schneider, for their comments which improve the manuscript. LYO thanks Drs Shu-Hua Chen and Su-Chih Yang for help with running WRF. LYO is grateful for the award from the Taiwan Foundation for the Advancement of Outstanding Scholarship. We acknowledge partial support from the National Science Council of Taiwan. All data are public and available from links given in the Method section.
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