Precipitation from June to August is generally used to reflect the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) variability. However, the principal modes of the EASM rainfall are different between May–June (MJ) and July–August due to the seasonal march of East Asian subtropical front. Therefore, it is necessary to study them separately. In this study, we reconstruct a 167-year MJ precipitation time series using tree-ring cellulose δ18O that explains 46.9% of the variance in the lower Yangtze River basin, Southeast China, that extends the meteorological data back more than 100 years and makes the precipitation study at decadal scales possible. The decades with 5 or more anomalously dry or wet years are the 1880s, 1890s, and 1910s, and the 1980s and 2000s have only one anomalous year per decade. MJ precipitation shows a significantly negative relationship with absolute Niño 3.4 sea surface temperature, especially during the developing phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation, indicating that there is less rainfall during El Niño events. However, the relationship is not uniform throughout the period. Further analyses show that it is stronger when the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is in its positive phases.
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