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Journal of Climate: Vol. 15, No. 22, pp. 3206每3221.

Onset of the Summer Monsoon over the Indochina Peninsula: Climatology and Interannual Variations*

Yongsheng Zhang

International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tim Li and Bin Wang

International Pacific Research Center and Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Guoxiong Wu

LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

(Manuscript received 16 July 2001, accepted 4 June 2002)


The temporal and spatial structures of the atmospheric circulation associated with the climatology and interannual variations of the summer monsoon onset over the Indochina Peninsula were studied using the observed daily rainfall at 30 stations and the NCEP每NCAR reanalysis from 1951 to 1996. The climatological monsoon onset over Indochina is on 9 May, with a standard deviation of 12 days. The monsoon onset is characterized by the pronounced northeastward progression of the low-level southwesterlies over the Indian Ocean and the intensification and northward extension of the tropical convection from Sumatra. It coincides with the weakening of the midlatitude westerly over south Asia, and the westward propagation of the intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) originated in the South China Sea (SCS) and the western Pacific with a dominant timescale of 12每25 days.

A close relationship between the interannual variations of the monsoon onset and El Niño/La Niña was identified. Years with warm (cold) sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the western Pacific and cold (warm) SST anomalies in the central-eastern Pacific in the preceding spring have an early (late) onset. For an early onset year, strong convective activities appear over the southern Indochina Peninsula and the southern SCS in the preceding winter and spring. Associated with the changes of the Walker circulation and the local Hadley circulation related to La Niña, strong convective activities were maintained by the convergence between the anomalous southwesterlies in the Indian Ocean and northeasterlies over the northern SCS. The anomalous southwesterlies in the Indian Ocean were induced by both the anomalous Walker circulation associated with La Niña and anomalous land每sea thermal contrast. The anomalous northeasterlies over the northern SCS were originated in northern winter due to the combined effects of the cold east China land and the warm Philippine Sea, and further maintained by a positive thermodynamic air每sea feedback mechanism related to La Niña. An opposite scenario is found for a late onset year with warm SST anomalies in the central-eastern Pacific (El Niño).

© Copyright by American Meteorological Society 2002