Influence of three phases of El Niño–Southern Oscillation on daily precipitation regimes in China
In this study, the impacts of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on daily precipitation regimes in China are examined using data from 713 meteorological stations from 1960 to 2013. We discuss the annual precipitation, frequency and intensity of rainfall events, and precipitation extremes for three phases (eastern Pacific El Niño – EP, Central Pacific El Niño – CP, and La Niña – LN) of ENSO events in both ENSO developing and ENSO decaying years. A Mann–Whitney U test was applied to assess the significance of precipitation anomalies due to ENSO. Results indicated that the three phases each had a different impact on daily precipitation in China and that the impacts in ENSO developing and decaying years were significantly different. EP phases caused less precipitation in developing years but more precipitation in decaying years; LN phases caused a reverse pattern. The precipitation anomalies during CP phases were significantly different than those during EP phases, and a clear pattern was found in decaying years across China, with positive anomalies over northern China and negative anomalies over southern China. Further analysis revealed that anomalies in frequency and intensity of rainfall accounted for these anomalies in annual precipitation; in EP developing years, negative anomalies in both frequency and intensity of rainfall events resulted in less annual precipitation, while in CP decaying years, negative anomalies in either frequency or intensity typically resulted in reduced annual precipitation. ENSO events tended to trigger extreme precipitation events. In EP and CP decaying years and in LN developing years, the number of very wet day precipitation (R95 p), the maximum rainfall in 1 day (Rx1d), and the number of consecutive wet days (CWD) all increased, suggesting an increased risk of flooding. On the other hand, more dry spells (DSs) occurred in EP developing years, suggesting an increased likelihood of droughts during this phase. Possible mechanisms responsible for these rainfall anomalies are speculated to be the summer monsoon and tropical cyclone anomalies in ENSO developing and decaying years.