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Signature of the South China Sea summer monsoon onset on spring-to-summer transition of rainfall in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River basin
- Jiang, Xingwen, Wang, Zunya, Li, Zhenning
- Climate dynamics 2018 v.51 no.9-10 pp. 3785-3796
- climate, climatology, heat, monsoon season, rain, spring, summer, water vapor, watersheds, China, South China Sea, Yangtze River
- The South China Sea (SCS) summer monsoon onset has been regarded as the beginning of the East Asian summer monsoon. In this study, we investigated the impacts of the SCS monsoon onset on the transition from the spring persistent rainfall to the summer Meiyu in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River basin (MLYZB). It is found that rainfall in the MLYZB reduces after the SCS monsoon onset. This reduction in rainfall persists until the onset of the Meiyu and is accompanied by a weakening of southwesterlies to the south of the MLYZB. These features exist in both climatology and interannual variability. Rainfall increases significantly over the SCS and the subtropical western North Pacific after the SCS monsoon onset. The latent heating of the increased rainfall can excite an anomalous cyclone over the western North Pacific, which weakens the mean southwesterlies to the south of the MLYZB and decreases water vapor entering the MLYZB. It also generates descending motion over southeastern China. Thus, the SCS monsoon onset could suppress rainfall over the MLYZB by the latent heating induced changes in circulation. Compared to increased rainfall over the SCS, the latent heating of increase rainfall over the subtropical western North Pacific plays a more important role in the reduction of rainfall over the MLYZB. As the SCS monsoon onset affects the timing of the reduction of rainfall in the MLYZB, an early SCS monsoon onset is accompanied by below-normal May rainfall in the MLYZB, while a late SCS monsoon onset is accompanied by above-normal May rainfall.