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Heavy Rain-producing Terrestrial Low-Pressure Systems Over East Asian Summer Monsoon Region: Evolution, Energetics, and Trend

You, Yujia; Ting, Mingfang; Camargo, Suzana J.

The synoptic low pressure systems (LPSs) formed over the downwind side of the Tibetan Plateau explain a substantial portion of summer rainfall extremes along their paths. Recent studies have found that the total extreme rainfall trend over the East Asian landmass, which features the “south flood–north drought” pattern, can be understood to a great extent by the changes in terrestrial LPSs. Yet, the energy sources fueling these storms and the environmental drivers of their long-term trends remain unclear. Utilizing a probabilistic clustering method, three clusters of terrestrial LPS tracks for the period 1979–2018 are identified. Besides the differences in trajectories that distinguish the clusters into northeastward-migrating and quasi-stationary types, prominent intercluster differences are found in the LPS evolution, energetics, and trends. The Lorenz energetics suggest that while condensational heating is indispensable for all three clusters, the migratory type, which has greater intensity and faster development, is more closely tied to baroclinicity. Nonetheless, the summer baroclinicity alone is not enough to sustain these LPSs as these storms dissipate quickly after propagating out of the humid monsoon region and into the drier extratropics. Over time, occurrences of migratory LPSs decrease, and those of quasi-stationary LPSs increase. Using a Poisson model that links the LPS genesis to local environmental conditions, the decreasing occurrence of migratory LPSs is shown to result from the weakened baroclinicity, whereas the increasing occurrence of quasi-stationary LPSs is primarily driven by enhanced relative humidity and reduced steering flow in the mid-to-lower troposphere over East Asia.

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Also Published In

Journal of Climate

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
June 3, 2021