Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 319–329 | Cite as

Detecting the origins of moisture over southeast China: Seasonal variation and heavy rainfall

  • Xiuzhen Li
  • Wen ZhouEmail author
  • Yongqin David Chen


To examine the ability of the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model to detect the origins and paths of moisture supplied to Southeast China, trajectories of air particles released over Southeast China were traced backward during 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 and three typical regional persistent heavy rainfall events. The HYSPLIT model provides more insightful information than water vapor flux. Analysis of the specific humidity along the trajectories revealed the origins of moisture and their contributions to the moisture supply in Southeast China. In the boreal summer half year, four key moisture transport paths from the eastern Indian Ocean, central Indian Ocean, South China Sea (SCS), and western North Pacific (WNP) contribute 10%, 20%, 31%, and 16% of the moisture to Southeast China, respectively. In the winter half year, the contributions of the paths from the WNP and North China double. Examination of heavy rainfall events showed that under tropical storm conditions, all moisture transport routines are rotated cyclonically before reaching Southeast China. The invasion of cold air can trigger heavy rainfall in both the summer and winter half years but plays different roles: it does not contribute to the moisture supply but plays a key role in converging and uplifting the moisture in the summer half year, while it supplies a great amount of moisture in the winter half year as it absorbs abundant moisture in crossing the WNP.

Key words

moisture origin Southeast China HYSPLIT seasonal variation heavy rainfall 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Resource ManagementThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Guy Carpenter Asia–Pacific Climate Impact Centre, School of Energy and EnvironmentCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Resource Management, and Institute of Environment, Energy and SustainabilityThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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