432 Tropical Indian Ocean Warming Contributions to China Winter Climate Variations

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Qigang Wu, FuDan Univ., Shanghai, China; and Y. Yao and S. Liu

This study investigates observed and modeled contributions of global sea surface temperature (SST) to China winter climate trends in 1960-2014, including increased precipitation, warming through about 1997, and cooling since then. Observations and Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations with prescribed historical SST and sea ice show that tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) warming and increasing rainfall causes diabatic heating that generates a tropospheric wave train with anticyclonic 500-hPa height anomaly centers in the TIO or equatorial western Pacific (TIWP) and northeastern Eurasia (EA) and a cyclonic anomaly over China, referred to as the TIWP-EA wave train. The cyclonic anomaly causes Indochina moisture convergence and southwesterly moist flow that enhances South China precipitation, while the northern anticyclone enhances cold surges, sometimes causing severe ice storms. AMIP simulations show a 1960-1997 China cooling trend by simulating increasing instead of decreasing Arctic 500-hPa heights that move the northern anticyclone into Siberia, but enlarge the cyclonic anomaly so it still simulates realistic China precipitation trend patterns. A separate idealized TIO SST warming simulation simulates the TIWP-EA feature more realistically with correct precipitation patterns and supports the TIWP-EA teleconnection as the primary mechanism for long-term increasing precipitation in South China since 1960.

Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) experiments simulate a reduced TIO SST warming trend and weak precipitation trends, so the TIWP-EA feature is absent and strong drying is simulated in South China for 1960-1997. These simulations highlight the need for accurately modeled SST to correctly attribute regional climate trends.

Wu, Q., Y. Yao, S. Liu, D. Cao, L. Cheng, H. Hu, L. Sun, Y. Yao, Z. Yang, X. Gao and S. R. Schroeder (2017): Tropical Indian Ocean Warming Contributions to China Winter Climate Variations Since 1960. Revised manuscript submitted to Climate Dynamics.

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