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This study investigates the seasonal march patterns of rainfall in the Philippines from 1951 to 2012 and their long-term variability. In order to clarify the dominant patterns in the seasonal march of rainfall, an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis was applied to pentad rainfall data of 30 stations. For the first EOF mode (EOF1), we obtained a pattern related to the summer rainy season. We then applied cluster analysis to the time coefficients of EOF1 in each year to classify the seasonal patterns of the summer rainy season. As a result, the patterns were classified into six clusters. We found a long-term change in the pattern appearances with three anomalous patterns frequently observed since the 1990s: (1) a pattern that has an indistinct dry season and a prolonged peak rainfall, (2) a pattern that has a distinct dry season and an earlier withdrawal of the summer rainy season, resulting in a shortened rainy season, and (3) a pattern with a distinct dry season as well as delayed onset and withdrawal of the summer rainy season. This study also shows the relations between these three patterns and the lower atmospheric circulation at the 850 hPa level around the Philippines. Consequently, large positive and negative anomalies in geopotential height were observed around the Philippines for the distinct and indistinct dry seasons, respectively. The duration and condition of the dry season were greatly affected by the strength and location of the subtropical high especially for February–March. It is also noteworthy that the timing of the onset (withdrawal) of the summer rainy season is clearly related to that of the onset of the westerly (northerly) wind in the zonal (meridional) component around the Philippines. Further, the duration and amount of peak rainfall were directly influenced by the strength of the westerly winds in the zonal component. These three anomalous patterns tended to appear in the years when the warm or cold event of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurred. This study suggests that the long-term variability in the seasonal march of rainfall is considerably influenced by the variability in ENSO. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Akasaka, I., Kubota, H., Matsumoto, J., Cayanan, E. O., de Guzman, R. G., & Hilario, F. D. (2018). Seasonal march patterns of the summer rainy season in the Philippines and their long-term variability since the late twentieth century. Progress in Earth and Planetary Science, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40645-018-0178-5