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Risk and dynamics of unprecedented hot months in South East China

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Abstract

The Yangtze region of South East China has experienced several extreme hot summer months in recent years. Such events can have devastating socio–economic impacts. We use a large ensemble of initialised climate simulations to assess the current chance of unprecedented hot summer months in the Yangtze River region. We find a 10% chance of an unprecedented hot summer month each year. Our simulations suggest that monthly mean temperatures up to 3 °C hotter than the current record are possible. The dynamics of these unprecedented extremes highlights the occurrence of a stationary atmospheric wave, the Silk Road Pattern, in a significant number of extreme hot events. We present evidence that this atmospheric wave is driven by variability in the Indian summer monsoon. Other extreme events are associated with a westward shift in the western North Pacific subtropical high. The most extreme simulated events exhibit combined characteristics of both the Silk Road Pattern and the shifted western North Pacific subtropical high.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund through the Met Office Climate Science for Service Partnership (CSSP) China as part of the Newton Fund, and National Key Research Program and Development of China (2017YFC1502302).

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Correspondence to Nick J. Dunstone.

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Thompson, V., Dunstone, N.J., Scaife, A.A. et al. Risk and dynamics of unprecedented hot months in South East China. Clim Dyn 52, 2585–2596 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-018-4281-5

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