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Features of the extremely severe drought in the east of Southwest China and anomalies of atmospheric circulation in summer 2006

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Abstract

The spatial-temporal features of the extremely severe drought and the anomalous atmospheric circulation in summer 2006 are analyzed based on the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, the characteristic circulation indices given by the National Climate Center of China, and the daily precipitation data of 20 stations in the east of Southwest China (ESC) from 1959 to 2006. The results show that the rainless period started from early June and ended in early September 2006 with a total of more than 80 days, and the rainfall was especially scarce from around 25 July to 5 September 2006. Precipitation for each month was less than normal, and analysis of the precipitation indices shows that the summer precipitation in 2006 was the least since 1959. The extremely severe drought in the ESC in summer 2006 was closely related to the persistent anomalies of the atmospheric circulation in the same period, i.e., anomalies of mid-high latitude atmospheric circulation, western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH), westerlies, South Asian high, lower-level flow, water vapor transport, vertical motion, and so on. Droughts usually occur when the WPSH lies anomalously northward and westward, or anomalously weak and eastward. The extreme drought in summer 2006 was caused by the former. When the WPSH turned stronger and shifted to the north and west of its normal position, and the South Asian high was also strong and lay eastward, downdrafts prevailed over the ESC and suppressed the water vapor transfer toward this area. At the same time, the disposition of the westerlies and the mid-high latitude circulation disfavored the southward invasion of cold air, which jointly resulted in the extremely severe drought in the ESC in summer 2006. The weak heating over the Tibetan Plateau and vigorous convective activities over the Philippine area were likely responsible for the strong WPSH and its northwestward shift in summer 2006.

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Correspondence to Yonghua Li  (李永华).

Additional information

Supported by the Sci. & Tech. Climbing Project of Chongqing Municipal (CSTC 2008BA0022), National Natural Science Foundation of China (40975058 and 40633018), and Special Project for the Provincial Institutes of China Meteorological Administration (CMATG2008S09).

Chinese version published in Vol. 67, No. 1, 122–132, 2009

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Li, Y., Xu, H. & Liu, D. Features of the extremely severe drought in the east of Southwest China and anomalies of atmospheric circulation in summer 2006. Acta Meteorol Sin 25, 176–187 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13351-011-0025-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13351-011-0025-8

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