The China Drought Catalyst

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Highlight: Evolution of the China drought.

Fig. 1-2: Very warm SSTA off the East Coast of Asia is well-correlated to anomalous high-pressure ridging causing the summer 2022 China drought.

Discussion: What may have been record warm SSTA off the East Asia Coast late last spring through August (Fig. 1) foreshadowed the likelihood of anomalous high-pressure ridging aloft for the summer season. During summer 2022, the warm SSTA to 500 MB ridge connection was well intact across China. The upper ridge centered over East-central China is immense (Fig. 2) and the catalyst for rapid onset of drought which has intensified causing agriculture loss and lowering river water levels or in some cases leading to dried-out river beds.

Over the next 10 days northern China is cooler and parts of northern China should see some beneficial rainfall due to a stalled but strong cold front. Just ahead of the cold front, East China stays dry and is quite hot. Long-term outlooks for autumn maintain the mostly dry climate for China.