Large-Scale Processes Associated with Inter-Decadal and Inter-Annual Early Spring Rainfall Variability in Taiwan


Early spring (March - April) rainfall in Taiwan exhibits evident and distinct inter-annual and inter-decadal variability. The inter-annual varibility has a positive correlation with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation while the inter-decadal variability features a phase change beginning in the late 1970s, coherent with the major phase change in the Pacific decadal oscillation. Rainfall variability in both timescales is regulated by large-scale processes showing consistent dynamic features. Rainfall increases are associated with positive sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical eastern Pacific and negative SST anomalies in the tropical central Pacific. An anomalous lower-level divergent center appears in the tropical central Pacific. Via a Rossby-wave-like response, an anomalous lower-level anticyclone appears to the southeast of Taiwan over the Philippine Sea-tropical western Pacific region, which is accompanied by an anomalous cyclone to the north-northeast of Taiwan. Both circulation anomalies induce anomalous southwesterly flows to enhance moisture flux from the South China Sea onto Taiwan, resulting in significant moisture convergence nearby Taiwan. With enhanced moisture supplied by anomalous southwesterly flows, significant rainfall increases occur in both inter-annual and inter-decadal timescales in early spring rainfall on Taiwan.

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Published by The Chinese Geoscience Union