Relationship between the South China Sea summer monsoon withdrawal and September–October rainfall over southern China

  • Peng Hu
  • Wen ChenEmail author
  • Shangfeng Chen
  • Yuyun Liu
  • Ruping Huang
  • Shaorou Dong


This study reveals a significant positive connection between the interannual variation in the South China Sea (SCS) summer monsoon (SCSSM) withdrawal and September–October rainfall over southern China. Specifically, pronounced positive rainfall anomalies can be found around southern China when the withdrawal of the SCSSM is later than normal. The occurrence of the significant SCSSM withdrawal-southern China rainfall relation may be attributed to both the atmospheric internal dynamics and the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the tropical Pacific. In particular, SST warming over the tropical western North Pacific, which resembles the developing phase of a La Niña, could induce a significant anomalous low-level cyclone over the northern SCS via a Rossby wave-type atmospheric response. The southwesterly wind anomalies on the south flank of this anomalous cyclone favor late SCSSM withdrawal and contribute to more rainfall over southern China via the northward transport of water vapor. In addition, the enhanced quasi-biweekly oscillation and synoptic-scale variation (such as tropical cyclones) during late withdrawal years are also conducive to increased rainfall over southern China. Further analyses found notable interdecadal changes and asymmetry in the connection of the SCSSM withdrawal with southern China rainfall. The factors contributing to the nonstationary and asymmetric nature of this monsoon withdrawal-rainfall relationship are also briefly discussed.


South China Sea Summer monsoon withdrawal Rainfall Southern China Tropical cyclone Interannual variability 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and comments, which helped to improve the paper. This study was supported jointly by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant no. 2016YFA0600604), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 41721004), and the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change. PH thanks Yuqi Wang, Zhiang Xie, and Lin Wang of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics for helpful advice and several discussions. YYL thanks Kaiming Hu of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics for his assistance in the LBM simulation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Guangzhou Institute of Tropical and Marine Meteorology, China Meteorological AdministrationGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Climate Center of Guangdong ProvinceGuangzhouChina

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