Article ID: 2019-065
In this study, the climatological characteristics of object-based precipitation systems (OPSs) and moisture development are analyzed over the South China Sea (SCS) during the sharp transition of summer monsoon onset. The satellite observed statistics of the OPSs showed that over the 20-day pre-onset period, OPSs of small (< 100 km) to medium size (100-300 km) are active over the lands surrounding the SCS. The pre-onset composite mean shows a basin-scale (~ 1000 km) local circulation with anomalous subsidence over the ocean, and ocean convection is mostly suppressed. Over the 20-day post-onset period, large (> 300 km) OPSs develop over the coastal ocean and contribute to over 60 % of the total precipitation. The number of observed large OPSs significantly increases along with the sharp moisture buildup within 10 days after onset. The moisture budget suggests that local contribution from convective vertical mixing is the major moisture source during the first pentad after onset. The relationship between moisture buildup and convection organization is then examined using a set of idealized cloud-resolving model (CRM) experiments, with a land-ocean configuration approximating the SCS basin. The CRM appropriately represents the observed development of coastal convection. In the no-shear environment, a strong basin-scale circulation is formed, which suppresses the ocean moisture development. When large-scale vertical wind shear is imposed to represent the changes of large-scale circulation during the onset pentad, organized convection systems are increased over the coastal ocean and propagate toward the open ocean, accompanied by fast ocean moistening within 5-10 days.