Remote impact of North Atlantic sea surface temperature on rainfall in southwestern China during boreal spring

Abstract

As an important oceanic signal, the North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) affects not only the climate variability over East China and Northeast China but also can affect climate variability over southwestern China (SWC). Based on station rainfall data and reanalysis datasets, the present study investigates the relationship of North Atlantic SST with SWC rainfall during boreal spring for the period 1979–2016. The results show that there is a significant positive correlation between North Atlantic SST and SWC rainfall during boreal spring. The atmospheric circulation over southern Asia associated with North Atlantic SST is favorable for positive rainfall anomalies. Further analyses show that North Atlantic SST can induce a North Atlantic–western Russia–western Tibetan Plateau–SWC (NRTC) teleconnection wave train from upper level to low level. At low level, two anomalous anticyclones are found over the mid-high latitude of North Atlantic and the western Tibetan Plateau, and two anomalous cyclones are observed over the western Russia and Bay of Bengal (BOB), respectively. The NRTC teleconnection wave train plays a bridging role between the North Atlantic SST and SWC rainfall during boreal spring. Both the observational analysis and two numerical experiments suggest that the North Atlantic SST during boreal spring can induce an anomalous cyclone over BOB by the NRTC teleconnection pattern. The anomalous cyclone over BOB favors moisture transport to SWC, accompanying with significant anomalous ascending motion, and thus results in positive rainfall anomalies in SWC during boreal spring.

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Acknowledgements

Gang Li acknowledges support from Prof. Jianping Li. The authors are very grateful for the valuable comments from three anonymous reviewers, which helped greatly in improving this paper. This work is jointly supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA11010403), the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grants 41422601, 41521005, 41475070, 41490642 and 41575097), the National Basic Research program of China (Grant 2013CB956203), and the Science Foundation of Yunnan Province (Grant 2016FA041).

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Correspondence to Xin Wang.

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Li, G., Chen, J., Wang, X. et al. Remote impact of North Atlantic sea surface temperature on rainfall in southwestern China during boreal spring. Clim Dyn 50, 541–553 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-3625-x

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Keywords

  • Boreal Spring
  • Positive Rainfall Anomalies
  • Anomalous Cyclone
  • Western Tibetan Plateau
  • Teleconnection Wave Train