Changes in Persistent Precipitation in Northwest China and Related Large-Scale Circulation Features


  • Based on China’s daily precipitation data of 2415 stations and ERA5 hourly reanalysis data from 1961 to 2019, the station-based and regional precipitation events over Northwest China (NWC) are identified and sorted into persistent precipitation (PP, duration ≥ 2 days) events and non-persistent precipitation (NPP, duration = 1 day) events; and then changes in the persistence structure of the PP and NPP events over NWC and the long-term mean adjustment of the related large-scale circulation configuration are analyzed. The results show that PP and NPP both witness an increasing trend over most parts of NWC. In terms of the total precipitation at most stations and the regional mean, contributions from PP have been increasing, while those from NPP have been decreasing. This demonstrates that the wetting trend in NWC is mainly caused by the increase in PP. Through analyzing the large-scale circulation corresponding to regional PP events at several representative levels, we found that the westerly jet at 200 hPa, the ridge/trough systems at 500 hPa, and the Mongolian low at sea level are the key circulation systems responsible for regional PP events over NWC. As for long-term mean changes after and before 1990 (a shifting point recognized by previous studies), it is found that the extent of the South Asian high becomes larger and the westerly jet shifts northward by approximately 1.5 degrees in the upper troposphere. The ridge near the Ural Mountains and the ridge downstream of NWC strengthen by approximately 10–30 hPa at 500 hPa. Furthermore, the difference between the Mongolian low trough and its surrounding high pressure increases by approximately 2 hPa at the sea level. The combinations of circulation changes from upper to lower levels facilitate the strengthening of ascending motions. These adjustments in circulations create more favorable conditions for PP to occur over NWC in the last three decades.
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