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Keywords:

  • Summer precipitation trend;
  • Regional Hadley and Walker circulations

Abstract

West African summer rainfall, north China summer rainfall and a new climate proxy, snow accumulation from the Dasuopu ice core in the southern Himalaya, have all experienced decreasing trends during the latter half of the 20th century. In this paper, we investigate the existence of a common mechanism that explains these geographically dispersed trends during the boreal summer. In particular, we explore the hypothesis that these trends are related to changes in the regional Hadley and Walker circulations. We show that the divergent circulation in the NCEP reanalysis indicates the existence of trends in these circulations that are consistent with the observed changes in the precipitation records. In addition, the regressions of the divergent circulation in the NCEP reanalysis against these precipitation records indicate that a similar globally coherent signal is associated with the time series and their linear trends while the regressions against the de-trended residuals do not contain statistically significant large-scale signals. These similarities lead us to conclude that the decreasing trends in the three precipitation time series during the latter half of the 20th century are consistent with large-scale changes in the global overturning circulation during the boreal summer. Copyright © 2007 Royal Meteorological Society