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Interannual variability of March snow mass over Northern Eurasia and its relation to the concurrent and preceding surface air temperature, precipitation and atmospheric circulation

Ye, Kunhui
Climate dynamics 2019 v.52 no.5-6 pp. 2813-2836
North Atlantic Oscillation, air temperature, atmospheric circulation, autumn, climate, ice, models, snow, snowpack, storms, water vapor, winter, Arctic region, Barents Sea, Eurasia, Kara Sea, Northern European region
The interannual variability of March snow water equivalent (SWE) in Northern Eurasia and its influencing factors are studied. The surface air temperature (SAT) and precipitation are the dominant factors for the snow accumulation in northern Europe and the remaining region, respectively. The strongest contribution of SAT to snow accumulation is mainly found in those months with moderate mean SAT. The strongest contribution of precipitation is not collocated with the climatological maxima in precipitation. The leading mode of March SWE variability is obtained and characterized by a spatial dipole. Anomalies in atmospheric water vapor divergence, storm activity and the associated atmospheric circulation can explain many of the associated precipitation and SAT features. Anomalies in autumn Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) over the Barents Sea and Kara Sea (B/K Sea) and a dipole pattern of November snow cover (SC) in Eurasia are also observed. The atmospheric circulation anomalies that resemble a negative phase of North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)/Arctic Oscillation (AO) are strongly projected onto the wintertime atmospheric circulation. Both observations and model experiment support that the autumn B/K Sea SIC has some impacts on the autumn and AO/NAO-like wintertime atmospheric circulation patterns. The dipole pattern of November Eurasian SC seems to be strongly forced by the autumn B/K Sea SIC and its feedback to the atmospheric circulation is important. Therefore, the impacts of autumn B/K Sea SIC on the autumn/wintertime atmospheric circulation and thus the March SWE variability may be modulated by both constructive and destructive interference of autumn Eurasian SC.