Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Impact of sea surface temperature trend on late summer Asian rainfall in the twentieth century

Authors

  • Qiying Bian,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Riyu Lu

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    • Corresponding author: R. Lu, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, PO Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. (lr@mail.iap.ac.cn)

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Abstract

[1] The impact of the global sea surface temperature (SST) warming trend, which is the leading mode of SST variability, on late summer Asian rainfall is analyzed based on the simulations of five atmospheric general circulation models, which are performed by the U. S. Climate Variability and Predictability Drought Working Group. Our evaluations of the model outputs indicate that these models roughly capture the main features of climatological rainfall and circulations over Asia and the western North Pacific (WNP), but they simulate a too strong monsoon trough and a too northward shifted in the subtropical anticyclone in the WNP and fail to reproduce the rain belt over East Asia. It is found that all of the models simulate an intensified WNP subtropical high (WNPSH) in late summer, an enhanced precipitation in the tropical Indian Ocean and the maritime continent, and a suppressed precipitation in the South Asian monsoon region, the South China Sea, and the Philippine Sea, when the models are forced with the SST trend, which is characterized by a significant increase in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific. All these changes are suggested to be dynamically coherent. The warmer SST trend in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific may suppress precipitation over the Philippine Sea and thus result in a lower tropospheric anticyclonic circulation over the subtropical WNP. The warmer SSTs in the Indian Ocean may also be responsible for the anomalous easterlies and resultant less rainfall over the South Asian monsoon region. The precipitation changes forced by the SST trend are similar in the maritime continent but show an apparent difference over East Asia, in comparison with the observed rainfall trend over lands. The possible reasons for this difference are discussed.

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