The effect of midlatitude transient eddies on monsoonal southerlies over eastern China


The strengthening of monsoonal southerlies over East Asia is associated with the westward intensification of the North Pacific subtropical high. Previous work has shown that the seasonal-mean position and strength of subtropical highs are affected by tropical and subtropical diabatic heating. Here it is shown that the synoptic-time-scale strengthening of southerlies over eastern China is dynamically tied to extratropical eddy activity. Composite analysis based on strong southerly wind events highlights an antecedent baroclinic wave train propagating southeastward into eastern China from extratropical central Asia. This wave train generates quasigeostrophic ascent over eastern China that is associated with heavy precipitation. The anomalously cold upper-tropospheric conditions associated with the wave train decrease static stability throughout the lower and middle troposphere in eastern China, while low-level moistening enhances equivalent potential temperature. It is proposed that the resulting reductions in dry and moist static stability intensify the eddy-induced precipitating ascent. These results illustrate how East Asian monsoon circulation and precipitation can be enhanced by the interaction of midlatitude baroclinic waves with the moist subtropical monsoon region.

Journal of Climate