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Published September 4, 2018 | Published
Journal Article Open

Suppression of convective precipitation by elevated man-made aerosols is responsible for large-scale droughts in north China


It has been proposed that the summer "South Flood–North Drought" (SFND) pattern observed in China over recent decades is caused by the relative impacts of global warming, aerosol loading, and natural variability on regional rainfall (1⇓–3). This conclusion is supported by a recent study by Day et al. (4) in which the SFND is attributed to the changes in the frequency of frontal rain events. Using a technique called the Frontal Rain Event Detection Algorithm for the observations during 1951–2007, decadal changes in the amount and distribution of rainfall in eastern China were found to be overwhelmingly due to changes in frontal rainfall (4). Day et al. conclude that frontal rainfall was envisioned as the product of large-scale frontal convergence and the nonfrontal rainfall was because of local convection, orographic rainfall, and typhoon rainfall. The authors further imply that the shifts in frequency and latitude of frontal rainfall over the recent decades in eastern China reflect changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation.

Additional Information

© 2018 National Academy of Sciences. Published under the PNAS license. Published ahead of print August 21, 2018. This work was partially supported by Department of Science and Technology of China Grants 2016YFC0202702 and 2014BAC22B06 and National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 21577126. This work was also supported by the Joint National Natural Science Foundation of China–Israel Science Foundation Research Program Grant 41561144004. Part of this work was also supported by the "Zhejiang 1000 Talent Plan" and Research Center for Air Pollution and Health in Zhejiang University. The views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Author contributions: S.Y. designed research; Z.L., S.Y., L.W., K.M., W.L., and K.A. performed research; Z.L., S.Y., L.W., K.M., W.L., and K.A. analyzed data; and Z.L. and S.Y. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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