ENSO cycle and climate anomaly in China

Chen, Yongli; Zhao, Yongping; Feng, Junqiao; Wang, Fan
November 2012
Chinese Journal of Oceanology & Limnology;Nov2012, Vol. 30 Issue 6, p985
Academic Journal
The inter-annual variability of the tropical Pacific Subsurface Ocean Temperature Anomaly (SOTA) and the associated anomalous atmospheric circulation over the Asian North Pacific during the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) were investigated using National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) atmospheric reanalysis data and simple ocean data simulation (SODA). The relationship between the ENSO and the climate of China was revealed. The main results indicated the following: 1) there are two ENSO modes acting on the subsurface tropical Pacific. The first mode is related to the mature phase of ENSO, which mainly appears during winter. The second mode is associated with a transition stage of the ENSO developing or decaying, which mainly occurs during summer; 2) during the mature phase of El Niño, the meridionality of the atmosphere in the mid-high latitude increases, the Aleutian low and high pressure ridge over Lake Baikal strengthens, northerly winds prevail in northern China, and precipitation in northern China decreases significantly. The ridge of the Ural High strengthens during the decaying phase of El Niño, as atmospheric circulation is sustained during winter, and the northerly wind anomaly appears in northern China during summer. Due to the ascending branch of the Walker circulation over the western Pacific, the western Pacific Subtropical High becomes weaker, and south-southeasterly winds prevail over southern China. As a result, less rainfall occurs over northern China and more rainfall over the Changjiang River basin and the southwestern and eastern region of Inner Mongolia. The flood disaster that occurred south of Changjiang River can be attributed to this. The La Niña event causes an opposite, but weaker effect; 3) the ENSO cycle can influence climate anomalies within China via zonal and meridional heat transport. This is known as the 'atmospheric-bridge', where the energy anomaly within the tropical Pacific transfers to the mid-high latitude in the northern Pacific through Hadley cells and Rossby waves, and to the western Pacific-eastern Indian Ocean through Walker circulation. This research also discusses the special air-sea boundary processes during the ENSO events in the tropical Pacific, and indicates that the influence of the subsurface water of the tropical Pacific on the atmospheric circulation may be realized through the sea surface temperature anomalies of the mixed water, which contact the atmosphere and transfer the anomalous heat and moisture to the atmosphere directly. Moreover, the reason for the heavy flood within the Changjiang River during the summer of 1998 is reviewed in this paper.


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