• climate;
  • decadal variability;
  • monsoon;
  • precipitation;
  • solar cycle

[1] Six different statistical methods (i.e., correlation, difference, prominent period, variance contribution, scale-averaged spectrum, and cross spectrum) are used to test for regional differences in the relationship between the 11 year sunspot cycle and June precipitation in China during the 20th century. In the Huaihe River basin (HRB) of central China, located at the marginal region of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM), there exists a reliable positive-correlation relationship between the 11 year sunspot cycle and June precipitation; whereas, possible negative and very weak positive correlations in the south of the middle–lower Yangtze River Region and the HeTao Basin (HTB), located in the interior of the EASM and the westerlies, respectively. The reasons for these regional differences are investigated, revealing that the marginal region of EASM may be more sensitive to solar forcing than is its interior, which results in the HRB becoming the most susceptible (strongest correlation) region. That is to say, in June during the high sunspot number (SSN) years, the influence of the EASM is significantly greater and more to the north than that in June during the low SSN years, causing the HRB to be mainly influenced by the EASM (westerlies) in June during the high (low) SSN years. The northward expansion of the June EASM probably resulted from enhancement of the low-level southwesterly monsoon flow over the northern tropical Indian Ocean, combined with an expansion of the western Pacific subtropical high at times of high SSN.