IMPACT OF TIBETAN PLATEAU SNOW COVER ON ABRUPT INTERDECADAL PRECIPITATION CHANGE OVER THE INDOCHINA PENINSULA IN THE MID-1990S
Abrupt interdecadal changes in summer precipitation (May – September) over the Indochina Peninsula in the past 40 years have been investigated based on the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis product over 1979–2013 and multiple precipitation datasets. The mechanism for the abrupt change is explored. Results indicate that an abrupt interdecadal change in summer precipitation over the Indochina Peninsula occurred in the middle 1990s, and the annual mean summer precipitation during 1994–2002 increased by about 10% compared to that during 1982–1993. The most significant precipitation change occurred in the central and northern peninsula. Further analysis reveals that the interdecadal decrease in snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau in the winter and spring contributed to the summer precipitation increase over the Indochina Peninsula. The decrease in snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau actually increased the thermal contrast between the Tibetan Plateau and the tropical Indian Ocean-northwestern Pacific, leading to intensified summer monsoon over the northwestern Pacific and the South China Sea. As a result, westerly anomalies occurred from the Bay of Bengal to the northwestern Pacific, while anomalous cyclonic circulation prevailed in the upper levels above East Asia. Correspondingly, the western Pacific subtropical high weakened and shifted eastward. Under the joint effects of the above circulation patterns, the atmosphere became wetter in the Indochina Peninsula and summer precipitation increased. Results of the present study provide a theoretical basis for the prediction of long-term summer precipitation change in the Indochina Peninsula.