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Investigating the influence of synoptic circulation patterns on regional dry and moist heat waves in North China

Abstract

Summer (June–August) heat waves in North China are found to be either primarily dry or moist, based on surface meteorological observations. This study characterizes synoptic circulation patterns (i.e., 500 hPa geopotential height) using the self-organizing map (SOM) method and investigates the influence of synoptic circulation patterns on these two types of heat waves. Results show that regional dry and moist heat waves are associated with different circulation patterns, which significantly modulate the advection of water vapor within the low-level atmosphere, and soil moisture and evaporation conditions at the surface. Regional dry heat waves are associated with times when a continental high pressure ridge is situated to the northwest of North China, and when the northern edge of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH) is south of 30° N. Regional moist heat waves are associated with a northward shift of the WNPSH. Long term variations of dry and moist heat wave occurrences correlated significantly with the occurrences of their associated circulation patterns at 0.38 (p = 0.02) and 0.71 (p = 0.00), respectively. On sub-seasonal time scales, the dominant heat wave type transforms from dry in June to moist in late July, which is in accordance with summer north–south WNPSH shifts. In addition, training the SOM with absolute geopotential height results in representative circulation patterns that are closely related to surface heat wave conditions in North China rather than the anomaly field, which mixes different circulation regimes.

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Availability of data and material (data transparency)

All original data can be downloaded from the URLs shown in the Acknowledgments. Processed data is available upon request from the corresponding author (zuozhy@fudan.edu.cn).

Code availability (software application or custom code)

All analysis code is available upon request from the corresponding author (zuozhy@fudan.edu.cn).

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Acknowledgements

This study was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41822503 and 41375092) and the National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFA0601502). Surface meteorological observations were obtained from the Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA, http://data.cma.cn/en). The ERA5 and ERA-Interim data were downloaded freely from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts website (https://www.ecmwf.int/en/forecasts/datasets/browse-reanalysis-datasets) and the JRA55 data were downloaded freely via ftp from the Japan Meteorological Agency (http://jra.kishou.go.jp/). We feel very grateful to the SOM Toolbox Team from Helsinki University of Technology (http://www.cis.hut.fi/projects/somtoolbox/ ) for providing available SOM algorithms.

Funding

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (41822503 and 41375092) and the National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFA0601502).

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Correspondence to Zhiyan Zuo.

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An, N., Zuo, Z. Investigating the influence of synoptic circulation patterns on regional dry and moist heat waves in North China. Clim Dyn 57, 1227–1240 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-021-05769-x

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Keywords

  • Dry heat wave
  • Moist heat wave
  • Circulation patterns
  • North China
  • Self-organizing map