Here we investigate the key features of early and late South China Sea summer monsoon (SCSSM) onset. To carry out the investigation, we select five extreme early and nine extreme late onset years (14 days or more, before and after the normal onset date are considered “late” and “early” onset years, respectively). Since the mean SCSSM onset occurs in May, we analyze the changes in composite mean meteorological fields during May. Next, we examine the differences in daily evolution (from 10 to 2 days before the onset) of various vital variables between the early and late SCSSM onset years. We demonstrate that during the early SCSSM onset years, surface air temperature (SAT) is warmer over the North Pacific Ocean, South China Sea (SCS), and Northern China, which gradually extend towards East Asia. These SAT anomalies over Northern China, East Asia, and SCS are due to the advection of warm anomalies from the North Pacific Ocean. Consequently, a dipole-like sea level pressure (SLP) pattern had developed, with lower SLP over East Asia, Northern China, SCS, and North Pacific Ocean, and higher SLP over the Indian Ocean. It subsequently brought moisture-laden wind from the Indian Ocean towards SCS and East Asian landmass and is responsible for early SCSSM onset.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science