Forcing mechanisms of orbital-scale changes in winter rainfall over northwestern China during the Holocene.

Zhang, X., Jin, Liya, Huang, W. and Chen, F. (2016) Forcing mechanisms of orbital-scale changes in winter rainfall over northwestern China during the Holocene. The Holocene, 26 (4). pp. 549-555. DOI 10.1177/0959683615612569.

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The moisture history in arid central Asia (ACA) differs from that in the Asian monsoon region during the Holocene. Much less is known about causes of Holocene moisture changes in ACA than Asian monsoon precipitation changes, hampering our understanding of their spatiotemporal differences. In this study, orbital-scale evolution of winter rainfall in northwestern China (a part of the core zone in ACA) during the Holocene and possible driving mechanisms are investigated using results from a long-term transient simulation performed by an atmosphere–ocean–sea-ice coupled general circulation model, the Kiel Climate Model, forced by orbital variations. Our results reveal a persistent wetting trend in northwestern China in winter throughout the Holocene, which is in response to winter insolation at mid-northern latitudes. Winter insolation can influence the rainfall via three ways. First, increasing latitudinal gradient of the incoming solar insolation at mid-latitudes strengthens the westerly intensity. Second, the evaporation is enhanced because of insolation-induced winter temperature rising, resulting in an increase in the air humidity. Intensified westerly winds and the increased water vapour together are conductive to enhance moisture transport towards northwestern China and thus increase winter precipitation in this area. Third, the increasing trend of winter insolation weakens the East Asian winter monsoon, which is favourable for the formation of rainfall via crippling the Siberian High that is beneficial for atmospheric lifting motion.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: arid central Asia, Holocene, insolation, paleoclimate simulation, precipitation, westerly winds
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R09
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1177/0959683615612569
ISSN: 0959-6836
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 11:17
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 11:48

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