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Wet-to-dry climate shift of the Sichuan Basin during 1961–2010

Abstract

The autumn precipitation over the Sichuan Basin (APSB) experienced a significant wet-to-dry shift around the mid-1980s during the 1961–2010 period. Thus, the dataset is divided into two subperiods, 1961–1985 (P1) and 1986–2010 (P2), which are denoted as the wet period and dry period, respectively. The possible mechanisms accounting for the wet-to-dry shift in the APSB are investigated using both observational data and a baroclinic atmospheric model. Analysis shows that the sea surface temperature (SST) in the tropical Indian-western Pacific (TIWP) regions displays continuous warming during the period under examination, which may intensify the ascent motion over the warm pool and favor the descent motion over the Sichuan Basin. Meanwhile, the Gill-type atmospheric response to anomalous TIWP warm SST is accompanied by anomalous northerly winds prevailing over central and Southwest China. Both the intensified descent motion and anomalous northerly winds over central and Southwest China favor the switch to dry conditions in the APSB. Further analysis shows that the decadal changes in the North Atlantic SST lead to an atmospheric wave pattern prevailing over the extratropical Eurasian continent. An anomalous cyclone over central-eastern Eurasia, which is one component of the wave pattern, is accompanied by significant northerly winds penetrating southward to central China. These northerly winds can cause more-than-normal snow cover around Lake Baikal, which may in turn modulate the atmospheric circulation through positive feedback and therefore result in intensified northerly winds, favorable for the switch to the anomalous dry state of the APSB.

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Acknowledgements

The NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1 data are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Physical Sciences Laboratory (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/). The original weekly Climate Data Record of Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Extent is available from http://nsidc.org/data/. The NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (SST) V5 data can be accessed through https://psl.noaa.gov/data/gridded/data.noaa.ersst.v5.html. The Niño 3.4 index is obtained from the Earth System Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/climateindices/list). This research is funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China grants (42075050 and 41530425).

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Correspondence to XiaoJing Jia.

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Jia, X., Gu, Q., Qian, Q. et al. Wet-to-dry climate shift of the Sichuan Basin during 1961–2010. Clim Dyn 57, 671–685 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-021-05734-8

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Keywords

  • Autumn drought
  • Sichuan Basin
  • SST
  • Climate shift