Influence of the Kuroshio Interannual Variability on the Summertime Precipitation over the East China Sea and Adjacent Area

Bolan Gan1, Young-Oh Kwon2, Terrence M Joyce3, Ke Chen3 and Lixin Wu1, (1)Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China, (2)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, United States, (3)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Physical Oceanography Department, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Much attention has been paid to the climatic impacts of changes in the Kuroshio Extension, instead of the Kuroshio in the East China Sea (ECS). This study, however, reveals the prominent influences of the lateral shift of the Kuroshio at interannual time scale in late spring [April–June (AMJ)] on the sea surface temperature (SST) and precipitation in summer around the ECS, based on high-resolution satellite observations and ERA-Interim. A persistent offshore displacement of the Kuroshio during AMJ can result in cold SST anomalies in the northern ECS and the Japan/East Sea until late summer, which correspondingly causes anomalous cooling of the lower troposphere. Consequently, the anomalous cold SST in the northern ECS acts as a key driver to robustly enhance the precipitation from the Yangtze River delta to Kyushu in early summer (May–August) and over the central ECS in late summer (July–September). In view of the moisture budget analysis, two different physical processes modulated by the lateral shift of the Kuroshio are identified to account for the distinct responses of precipitation in early and late summer, respectively. First, the anomalous cold SST in the northern ECS induced by the Kuroshio offshore shift is likely conducive to the earlier arrival of the mei-yu–baiu front at 30°–32°N and its subsequent slower northward movement, which may prolong the local rainy season, leading to the increased rain belt in early summer. Second, the persistent cold SST anomalies in late summer strengthen the near-surface baroclinicity and the associated strong atmospheric fronts embedded in the extratropical cyclones over the central ECS, which in turn enhances the local rainfall.