Based on the observational data of 23 stations in Northeast China during 1951 - 2000, the temporal-spatial distributions of summer air temperature (SAT) are investigated. It is found that the variabilities of SAT are different in the north and south of Northeast China on the interannual and decadal time scales, besides the same variability in the whole region. And the SAT in the north exhibits a significantly abrupt climate change in 1987 similar to 1988. Except for the years with the same variability, the relationships between the SAT in the two areas and atmospheric general circulation as well as sea surface temperature (SST) are revealed as follows: before the abrupt climate change, the main features of the atmospheric general circulation and SST associated with the two areas' SATs are different. The key sea regions which have influence on the SAT in the south area (SA) are the mid-latitude western Pacific and parts of the Indian Ocean. On the other hand, the main factor for the north area (NA) is ENSO events. After the abrupt climate change, the variabilities of the SAT in the two areas and the corresponding atmospheric circulation and SST amomalous patterns become similar. In addition, the NA SAT has a significant correlation with the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) during 1951 similar to 2000, but the high correlation does not exist in the SA.
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