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Mechanisms for concurrent low-latitude circulation anomalies responsible for persistent extreme precipitation in the Yangtze River Valley

Chen, Yang, Zhai, Panmao
Climate dynamics 2016 v.47 no.3-4 pp. 989-1006
climate, heat transfer, latitude, solar radiation, South Asia, Yangtze River
Concurrent position shifts of the mid-level western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) and the upper-level South Asia high (SAH) are regarded as significant precursors for persistent extreme precipitation events (PEPEs) in the Yangtze River Valley (YRV). By performing composite analyses, accountable vorticity genesis and dissipation are diagnosed based on a potential vorticity–diabatic heating theory. The results indicate that about 1 week preceding precipitation onset, a wave-like pattern of anomalous diabatic heating (Q) initiates its northwestward propagation from equatorial central Pacific. Subsequently, this wave-like pattern induces substantial changes in both horizontal and vertical structure of local Q along the propagating route. Forced negative vorticities in key areas result in the zonal approach between the SAH and the WPSH. During PEPEs, two thermal-induced vertical circulation cells take shape, with common strong ascent centered in the YRV. These anomalous cells are capable of self-maintaining for a few days via positive feedback processes. The WPSH and the SAH are therefore anchored in respective favorable positions for PEPEs. Simultaneously, descending motion of these two cells increases local solar radiation and decreases upward latent heat flux from surface, facilitating warmer underlying surface and swift accumulation of lower-level moisture. Correspondingly, enhanced heating to the north and rapid developing cyclone over warmer sea surface to the south combine to terminate above positive feedback processes. Finally, both the WPSH and the SAH retreat to their normal positions, accompanied by a quick decay of PEPEs.