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Relationship between summer rainfall anomalies and sub-seasonal oscillations in South China

Li, Chunhui, Li, Tim, Lin, Ailan, Gu, Dejun, Zheng, Bin
Climate dynamics 2015 v.44 no.1-2 pp. 423-439
climate, environmental factors, intraseasonal oscillation, rain, summer, China
Sub-seasonal variability of summer (May–October) rainfall over South China exhibits two dominant timescales, one with a quasi-biweekly (QBW) period (10–20 days) and the other with an intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) period (20–60 days). A significant positive correlation (at a 99 % confidence level) was found between the summer precipitation anomalies and the intensity of the QBW and ISO modes. By examining the composite structure and evolution characteristics, we note that the QBW and ISO modes are characterized by a northwest-southeast oriented wave train pattern with a pronounced baroclinic vertical structure, moving northwestward. A marked feature is the phase leading of low-level moisture relative to convection. For the QBW mode, such a phase leading feature appears in both the strong and weak composites. However, for the ISO mode, this feature is only clearly seen in the strong composite. The high positive correlation between the summer precipitation and the sub-seasonal variability suggests that the summer mean state may exert a large-scale control on the sub-seasonal modes. It is found that when South China is anomalously wet, large-scale atmospheric conditions in the key QBW/ISO activity region are characterized by deeper moist layer, more convectively unstable stratification, and greater ascending motion. Such environmental conditions favor the growth of the QBW and ISO perturbations.