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Decadal Transition of the Leading Mode of Interannual Moisture Circulation over East Asia–Western North Pacific: Bonding to Different Evolution of ENSO

Journal article
Authors Xiuzhen Li
Zhiping Wen
Deliang Chen
Zesheng Chen
Published in Journal of Climate
Volume 32
Pages 289-308
ISSN 0894-8755
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 289-308
Language en
Keywords ENSO; Air-sea interaction; Climate variability; Hydrologic cycle; Moisture/moisture budget
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle has a great impact on the summer moisture circulation over East Asia (EA) and the western North Pacific [WNP (EA-WNP)] on an interannual time scale, and its modulation is mainly embedded in the leading mode. In contrast to the stable influence of the mature phase of ENSO, the impact of synchronous eastern Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) on summer moisture circulation is negligible during the 1970s–80s, while it intensifies after 1991. In response, the interannual variation of moisture circulation exhibits a much more widespread anticyclonic/cyclonic pattern over the subtropical WNP and a weaker counterpart to the north after 1991. Abnormal moisture moves farther northward with the enhanced moisture convergence, and thus precipitation shifts from the Yangtze River to the Huai River valley. The decadal shift in the modulation of ENSO on moisture circulation arises from a more rapid evolution of the bonding ENSO cycle and its stronger coupling with circulation over the Indian Ocean after 1991. The rapid development of cooling SSTAs over the central-eastern Pacific, and warming SSTAs to the west over the eastern Indian Ocean–Maritime Continent (EIO-MC) in summer, stimulates abnormal descending motion over the western-central Pacific and ascending motion over the EIO-MC. The former excites an anticyclone over the WNP as a Rossby wave response, sustaining and intensifying the WNP anticyclone; the latter helps anchor the anticyclone over the tropical–subtropical WNP via an abnormal southwest–northeast vertical circulation between EIO-MC and WNP.

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