What Formed the North-South Contrasting Pattern of Summer Rainfall Changes over Eastern China?


Purpose of Review

The south-flood-north-drought pattern of summer rainfall change over eastern China has been attributed to external forcing (greenhouse gas concentration and aerosol emission changes) and a coupled ocean-atmosphere mode (the Pacific Decadal Oscillation; PDO). Here, we investigate the possibility whether the north-south contrasting pattern of summer rainfall change may occur without external forcing and the PDO effect.

Recent Findings

Analysis of preindustrial and historical climate model simulations and climatological sea surface temperature–forced atmospheric model simulations identified the north-south pattern of summer rainfall changes under constant external forcing and without the PDO signal. This suggests a possible role of atmospheric internal variability. The decadal rainfall change pattern appears as a manifestation of change in the frequency of occurrence of rainfall anomaly distribution from one specific pattern to the other between two neighboring periods.


The external forcing and the ocean-atmosphere coupled mode are not necessary conditions for the occurrence of the north-south pattern of summer rainfall changes over eastern China.

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We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling and the climate modeling groups for the CMIP5 climate model data obtained from https://pcmdi.llnl.gov/mips/cmip5/data-portal.html. The CMAP rainfall and NCEP-DOE reanalysis 2 data were obtained from ftp://ftp.cdc.noaa.gov/. The GPCP and GPCC precipitation data were obtained from https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/. The CRU data were obtained from http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/data/. The University of Delaware precipitation data were obtained from http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/. The HadISST1.1 SST data were obtained from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/sst-data-hadisst-v11/. The twentieth century reanalysis data were acquired via https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/20thC_Rean/.


This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China grants 41530425, 41775080, and 41721004.

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Correspondence to Renguang Wu.

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Wu, R., You, T. & Hu, K. What Formed the North-South Contrasting Pattern of Summer Rainfall Changes over Eastern China?. Curr Clim Change Rep 5, 47–62 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40641-019-00124-z

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  • Summer rainfall change in eastern China
  • The north-south contrast pattern
  • External forcing
  • The Pacific Decadal Oscillation
  • Internal atmospheric variability