Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2002, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (2): 202-209.

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Interdecadal change in Western Pacific Subtropical High and climatic effects

HE Xue-zhao1, GONG Dao-yi1,2   

  1. 1. Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster Research, Institute of Resources Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China|
    2. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
  • Received:2001-12-16 Revised:2002-02-25 Online:2002-06-25 Published:2010-09-18
  • Supported by:

    National Developing Program for Basic Sciences, No.1998040900; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40105007


Western North Pacific Subtropical High is a very important atmospheric circulation system influencing the summer climate over eastern China. Its interdecadal change is analyzed in this study. There is a significant decadal shift in about 1979/1980. Since 1980, the Western North Pacific Subtropical High has enlarged, intensified, and shifted southwestward. This change gives rise to an anti-cyclonic circulation anomaly over the region from the South China Sea to western Pacific and thus causes wet anomalies over the Yangtze River valley. During the summers of 1980-1999, the precipitation is 63.9 mm above normal, while during 1958-1979 it is 27.3 mm below normal. The difference is significant at the 99% confidence level as a t-test shown. The southwestward expanding of the Western North Pacific Subtropical High also leads to a significant warming in southern China, during 1980-1999 the summer mean temperature is 0.37oC warmer than that of the period 1958-1979. The strong warming is primarily due to the clearer skies associated with the stronger downward air motion as the Western North Pacific Subtropical High expanding to the west and controlling southern China. It is also found that the relative percentage of tropical cyclones in the regions south of 20oN is decreasing since the 1980s, but in the regions north of 20oN that is increasing at the same time. The Western North Pacific Subtropical High responds significantly to sea surface temperature of the tropical eastern Pacific with a lag of one-two seasons and simultaneously to sea surface temperature of the tropical Indian Ocean. The changes in the sea surface temperatures are mainly responsible for the interdecadal variability of the Western North Pacific Subtropical High.

Key words: Western Pacific Subtropical High, interdecadal change, climate change

CLC Number: 

  • P467