Distinct Principal Modes of Early and Late Summer Rainfall Anomalies in East Asia

Bin Wang; Jian Liu; Jing Yang; Tianjun Zhou; Zhiwei Wu
July 2009
Journal of Climate;Jul2009, Vol. 22 Issue 13, p3864
Academic Journal
The current seasonal prediction of East Asia (EA) summer monsoon deals with June–July–August (JJA) mean anomalies. This study shows that the EA summer monsoon may be divided into early summer [May–June (MJ)] and late summer [July–August (JA)] and exhibits remarkable differences in mean state between MJ and JA. This study reveals that the principal modes of interannual precipitation variability have distinct spatial and temporal structures during the early and late summer. These principal modes can be categorized as either El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) related or non-ENSO related. During the period of 1979–2007, ENSO-related modes explain 35% of MJ variance and 45% of JA variance, and non-ENSO-related modes account for 25% of MJ variance and 20% of JA variance. For ENSO-related variance, about two-thirds are associated with ENSO decaying phases, and one-third is associated with ENSO developing phases. The ENSO-related MJ modes generally concur with rapid decay or early development of ENSO episodes, and the opposite tends to apply to ENSO-related JA modes. The non-ENSO MJ mode is preceded by anomalous land surface temperatures over southern China during the previous March and April. The non-ENSO JA mode is preceded by lasting equatorial western Pacific (the Niño-4 region) warming from the previous winter through late summer. The results suggest that 1) prediction of bimonthly (MJ) and (JA) anomalies may be useful, 2) accurate prediction of the detailed evolution of ENSO is critical for prediction of ENSO-related bimonthly rainfall anomalies over East Asia, and 3) non-ENSO-related modes are of paramount importance during ENSO neutral years. Further establishment of the physical linkages between the non-ENSO modes and their corresponding precursors may provide additional sources for EA summer monsoon prediction.


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