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Journal Article

A comprehensive analysis of coherent rainfall patterns in China and potential drivers. Part I: Interannual variability

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Stephan, C. C., Klingaman, N. P., Vidale, P. L., Turner, A. G., Demory, M.-E., & Guo, L. (2018). A comprehensive analysis of coherent rainfall patterns in China and potential drivers. Part I: Interannual variability. Climate Dynamics, 50, 4405-4424. doi:10.1007/s00382-017-3882-8.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-B718-F
Interannual rainfall variability in China affects agriculture, infrastructure and water resource management. To improve its understanding and prediction, many studies have associated precipitation variability with particular causes for specific seasons and regions. Here, a consistent and objective method, Empirical Orthogonal Teleconnection (EOT) analysis, is applied to 1951-2007 high-resolution precipitation observations over China in all seasons. Instead of maximizing the explained space-time variance, the method identifies regions in China that best explain the temporal variability in domain-averaged rainfall. The EOT method is validated by the reproduction of known relationships to the El Nio Southern Oscillation (ENSO): high positive correlations with ENSO are found in eastern China in winter, along the Yangtze River in summer, and in southeast China during spring. New findings include that wintertime rainfall variability along the southeast coast is associated with anomalous convection over the tropical eastern Atlantic and communicated to China through a zonal wavenumber-three Rossby wave. Furthermore, spring rainfall variability in the Yangtze valley is related to upper-tropospheric midlatitude perturbations that are part of a Rossby wave pattern with its origin in the North Atlantic. A circumglobal wave pattern in the northern hemisphere is also associated with autumn precipitation variability in eastern areas. The analysis is objective, comprehensive, and produces timeseries that are tied to specific locations in China. This facilitates the interpretation of associated dynamical processes, is useful for understanding the regional hydrological cycle, and allows the results to serve as a benchmark for assessing general circulation models.