Projected changes in the characteristics of the East Asian summer monsoonal front and their impacts on the regional precipitation

Abstract

Summer monsoonal rainfall over East Asia is dominated by precipitation associated with the East Asian summer monsoonal front (EASMF). A Community Atmospheric Model (CAM5.1) with a high horizontal resolution of 50 km is employed in this study to investigate the interannual variability as well as projected future trends in the EASMF under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 scenario. Seasonal march of the EASMF is reproduced reasonably well in the model’s present-day simulation despite a northward shift of the simulated front from its observed position. Based upon a suite of objectively-defined daily indices of the EASMF, we show that the EASMF in the late twenty-first century will be more intense and displaced eastward and southward from its present-day mean location. Moreover, EASMF events will exhibit a wider meridional expansion and a longer duration. Monsoonal precipitation over East Asia is particularly sensitive to the meridional displacements of EASMF. In conjunction with the projected southward shift of EASMF, an enhanced rain band is seen to extend northeastward from southern China to the northwestern Pacific south of Japan. This precipitation feature is associated with strengthened and southward-shifted westerly jet streams at 250 and 700 hPa, which are respectively linked to tropical warming in the upper troposphere and warming over the South China Sea in the lower troposphere during the twenty-first century. Within the latitudinal “gap” south of the upper-level jet and north of the lower-level jet, the local vorticity tendencies are maintained by upper-level divergence and lower-level convergence, thus accompanied by enhanced upward motion and precipitation. The site at which this “jet stream-precipitation” relationship prevails is notably modulated by long-term trends in the temperature and circulation patterns associated with climate change.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Takeshi Horinouchi and one anonymous reviewer for providing constructive comments and suggestions. This work is supported by CUHK Direct Grant 4053331. The appointment of Ngar-Cheung Lau at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is partially supported by the AXA Research Fund. Chi-Yung Tam is supported by the Chinese University Direct Grant (no. 4053331). Yi Deng is supported by the National Science Foundation Climate and Large-Scale Dynamics (CLD) program through grants AGS-1354402 and AGS-1445956 and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through award NA16NWS4680013. Ho-Nam Cheung is supported by the General Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 41905050), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (Grant no. 19lgpy36), and Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Climate Change and Natural Disaster Studies (Grant 2020B1212060025). The CAM5.1 simulations were performed by Ho Nam Cheung when he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bergen under the support of the NordForsk TRACE project (#90077). The boundary conditions of these simulations were provided by Dmitry V Sein from Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany. Computing resources were provided by UNITETT Sigma AS (NN9390K, NS9064K).

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Li, Y., Lau, NC., Tam, CY. et al. Projected changes in the characteristics of the East Asian summer monsoonal front and their impacts on the regional precipitation. Clim Dyn (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-021-05687-y

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Keywords

  • East Asian summer monsoonal front
  • Precipitation
  • Westerly jet streams
  • Climate change
  • Interannual variability