Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Westerly Jet and Seasonal Transitions of the East Asian Summer Monsoon
by Kong, Wenwen, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2020, 160; 28089605
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the dynamical linkage between the orographic forcing of the Tibetan Plateau on the westerlies, and the seasonal migration of the East Asian summer monsoonal rainfall.

Chapter 2 focuses on evolution of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) from early to late Holocene. The Holocene EASM was previously characterized as a trend toward weaker monsoon intensity paced by orbital insolation. It is demonstrated here that this evolution is more accurately characterized as changes in the transition timing and duration of the EASM seasonal stages (spring, pre-mei-yu, mei-yu, midsummer), and tied to the north–south dis- placement of the westerlies relative to Tibet. To this end, time-slice simulations across the Holocene are employed using an atmospheric general circulation model. Self-organizing maps are used to objectively identify the transition timing and duration of the EASM seasonal stages. Compared to the late Holocene, an earlier onset of mei-yu and an earlier transition from mei-yu to midsummer in the early to mid-Holocene are found, resulting in a shortened mei-yu and prolonged midsummer stage. These changes are accompanied by an earlier northward positioning of the westerlies relative to Tibet. Invoking changes to seasonal transitions also provides a more satisfactory explanation for two key observations of Holocene East Asian climate: the “asynchronous Holocene optimum” and changes to dust emissions. A mechanism is proposed to explain the altered EASM seasonality in the simulated early to mid-Holocene. The insolation increase over the boreal summer reduces the pole–equator temperature gradient, leading to northward-shifted and weakened westerlies. The meridional position of the westerlies relative to the Tibetan Plateau determines the onset of mei-yu and possibly the onset of the midsummer stage. The northward shift in the westerlies triggers earlier seasonal rainfall transitions and, in particular, a shorter mei-yu and longer midsummer stage.

Chapter 3 explores how the termination of the mei-yu is dynamically linked to the west- erlies impinging on the Tibetan Plateau. It is found that the mei-yu stage terminates when the maximum upper-tropospheric westerlies shift beyond the northern edge of the plateau, around 40◦ N. This termination is accompanied by the disappearance of tropospheric norther- lies over northeastern China. The link between the transit of the jet axis across the northern edge of the plateau, the disappearance of northerlies, and termination of the mei-yu holds on a range of time scales from interannual through seasonal and pentad. Diagnostic analysis indicates that the weakening of the meridional moisture contrast and meridional wind con- vergence, mainly resulting from the disappearance of northerlies, causes the demise of the mei-yu front. We propose that the westerlies migrating north of the plateau and consequent weakening of the extratropical northerlies triggers the mei-yu termination. Model simulations are employed to test the causality between the jet and the orographic downstream northerlies by repositioning the northern edge of the plateau. As the plateau edge extends northward, orographic forcing on the westerlies strengthens, leading to persistent strong downstream northerlies and a prolonged mei-yu. Idealized simulations with a dry dynamical core further demonstrate the dynamical link between the weakening of orographically forced downstream northerlies with the positioning of the jet from south to north of the plateau. Changes in the magnitude of orographically forced stationary waves are proposed to explain why the downstream northerlies disappear when the jet axis migrates beyond the northern edge of the plateau.

Chapter 4 proposes an interpretation on the teleconnection between El Niño and East Asian early summer rainband. An intensification of East Asian rainfall usually occurs summers following El Niño. We propose that this teleconnection is mediated via the westerlies impinging on the Tibetan Plateau, through El Niño’s control on tropical tropospheric temperature. This is distinct from previous studies that attribute the El Niño’s influence to changes in the Western Pacific subtropical anticyclone. The warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific leads to uniform warming of the entire tropical troposphere, which sharpens the temperature gradient between the tropics and the subtropics and shifts the westerlies south- ward. The westerlies impinge over the Tibetan Plateau for longer and, through interaction with the topography, induce intense and persistent extratropical northerlies downstream of the plateau that in turn intensifies the East Asian rainband. The rainband has previously been shown to intensify in a similar manner in a warming climate, suggesting that the El Niño response provides an analog for future changes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chiang, John C.H.
Commitee: Fung, Inez Y., Boos, William R., Cuffey, Kurt M.
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Atmospheric sciences, Meteorology, Paleoclimate Science, Asian Studies, Climate Change, Environmental Studies
Keywords: East Asian monsoon, Tibetan Plateau, Westerly jet, Monsoonal rainfall, Holocene, Midsummer stage
Publication Number: 28089605
ISBN: 9798691235412
Copyright © 2021 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy