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Influences of three oceans on record-breaking rainfall over the Yangtze River Valley in June 2020

Abstract

The rainfall over the Yangtze River Valley (YRV) in June 2020 broke the record since 1979. Here we show that all three oceans of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans contribute to the YRV rainfall in June 2020, but the Atlantic plays a dominant role. The sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in three oceans are associated with the two vorticity anomalies: negative 200-hPa relative vorticity anomalies over North China (NC) and negative 850-hPa relative vorticity anomalies in the South China Sea (SCS). The rainfall anomalies in the YRV are mainly controlled by atmospheric process associated with the NC vorticity. The positive SST anomalies in May over the western North Atlantic induce positive geopotential height anomalies in June over the mid-latitude North Atlantic, which affect the rainfall anomalies in the YRV by changing the NC vorticity via Atlantic-induced atmospheric wave train across Europe. The Indian Ocean and tropical North Atlantic, as capacitors of Pacific El Niño events in the preceding winter, affect the SCS vorticity associated with the anomalous anticyclone over the SCS and also facilitate the YRV rainfall by providing favorable moisture conditions. This study suggests that the May SST over the western North Atlantic is a good predictor of June rainfall anomalies in the YRV and highlights the important impacts of three-ocean SSTs on extreme weather and climate events in China.

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Acknowledgements

We thank two reviewers whose comments and suggestions help improve the manuscript. This study was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grand No. 2019YFA0606701), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grand No. 41731173), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grand Nos. XDB42000000 & XDA20060502), the Key Special Project for Introduced Talents Team of Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou) (Grand No. GML2019ZD0306), the Innovation Academy of South China Sea Ecology and Environmental Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grand No. ISEE2018PY06), the Leading Talents of Guangdong Province Program, the National Program on Global Change and Air-Sea Interaction under grant GASI-IPOVAI-03, and the Independent Research Project Program of State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography (Grand No. LTOZZ2004). The numerical computation was supported by the High Performance Computing Division in the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology.

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Correspondence to Chunzai Wang.

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Zheng, J., Wang, C. Influences of three oceans on record-breaking rainfall over the Yangtze River Valley in June 2020. Sci. China Earth Sci. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-020-9758-9

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Keywords

  • Rainfall
  • Yangtze River Valley
  • Western North Atlantic
  • Three oceans