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Observed Relationship of Spring and Summer East Asian Rainfall with Winter and Spring Eurasian Snow

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  • 1 Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland
  • | 2 School for Computational Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland
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Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between spring and summer rainfall in East Asia and the preceding winter and spring snow cover/depth over Eurasia, using station rainfall observations, satellite-observed snow cover, satellite-derived snow water equivalent, and station observations of the number of days of snow cover and snow depth. Correlation analysis shows that snow-depth anomalies can persist from winter to spring whereas snow cover anomalies cannot in most regions of Eurasia. Locally, snow cover and snow-depth anomalies in February are not related in most regions to the north of 50°N, but those anomalies in April display consistent year-to-year variations. The results suggest that the winter snow cover cannot properly represent all the effects of snow and it is necessary to separate the winter and spring snow cover in addressing the snow–monsoon relationship.

Spring snow cover in western Siberia is positively correlated with spring rainfall in southern China. The circulation anomalies associated with the western Siberian spring snow cover variations show an apparent wave pattern over the eastern Atlantic through Europe and midlatitude Asia. Spring snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau shows a moderate positive correlation with spring rainfall in southern China. Analysis shows that this correlation includes El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) effects. In contrast to the Indian summer monsoon rainfall for which the ENSO interferes with the snow effects, the Tibetan Plateau snow cover and ENSO work cooperatively to enhance spring rainfall anomalies in southern China. In comparison, ENSO has larger impacts than the snow on spring rainfall in southern China.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Renguang Wu, Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, 4041 Powder Mill Rd., Suite 302, Calverton, MD 20705. Email: renguang@cola.iges.org

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between spring and summer rainfall in East Asia and the preceding winter and spring snow cover/depth over Eurasia, using station rainfall observations, satellite-observed snow cover, satellite-derived snow water equivalent, and station observations of the number of days of snow cover and snow depth. Correlation analysis shows that snow-depth anomalies can persist from winter to spring whereas snow cover anomalies cannot in most regions of Eurasia. Locally, snow cover and snow-depth anomalies in February are not related in most regions to the north of 50°N, but those anomalies in April display consistent year-to-year variations. The results suggest that the winter snow cover cannot properly represent all the effects of snow and it is necessary to separate the winter and spring snow cover in addressing the snow–monsoon relationship.

Spring snow cover in western Siberia is positively correlated with spring rainfall in southern China. The circulation anomalies associated with the western Siberian spring snow cover variations show an apparent wave pattern over the eastern Atlantic through Europe and midlatitude Asia. Spring snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau shows a moderate positive correlation with spring rainfall in southern China. Analysis shows that this correlation includes El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) effects. In contrast to the Indian summer monsoon rainfall for which the ENSO interferes with the snow effects, the Tibetan Plateau snow cover and ENSO work cooperatively to enhance spring rainfall anomalies in southern China. In comparison, ENSO has larger impacts than the snow on spring rainfall in southern China.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Renguang Wu, Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, 4041 Powder Mill Rd., Suite 302, Calverton, MD 20705. Email: renguang@cola.iges.org

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