Autumn Sea Ice Cover, Winter Northern Hemisphere Annular Mode, and Winter Precipitation in Eurasia

Fei Li Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Huijun Wang Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and Climate Change Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Abstract

This paper examines the impacts of the previous autumn sea ice cover (SIC) on the winter Northern Hemisphere annular mode (NAM) and winter precipitation in Eurasia. The coherent variations among the Kara–Laptev autumn SIC, winter NAM, and Eurasian winter precipitation appear after the year 1982, which may prove useful for seasonal prediction of winter precipitation. From a physical point of view, the Kara–Laptev SIC and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies develop in autumn and remain in winter. Given that winter NAM is characterized by an Arctic–midlatitude seesaw centered over the Barents Sea and Kara–Laptev Seas, it is closely linked to the Arctic forcing that corresponds to the Kara–Laptev sea ice increase (reduction) and the associated surface temperature cooling (warming). Moreover, based on both model simulations and observations, the diminishing Kara–Laptev sea ice does induce positive sea level pressure (SLP) anomalies over high-latitude Eurasia in winter, which is accompanied by a significant surface warming in northern Eurasia and cooling south of the Mediterranean. This surface air temperature (SAT) anomaly pattern facilitates increases of specific humidity in northern Eurasia with a major ridge extending southward along the East Asian coast. As a result, the anomalous Eurasian winter precipitation has a more zonal band structure.

Corresponding author address: Fei Li, Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: lifei-715@163.com

Abstract

This paper examines the impacts of the previous autumn sea ice cover (SIC) on the winter Northern Hemisphere annular mode (NAM) and winter precipitation in Eurasia. The coherent variations among the Kara–Laptev autumn SIC, winter NAM, and Eurasian winter precipitation appear after the year 1982, which may prove useful for seasonal prediction of winter precipitation. From a physical point of view, the Kara–Laptev SIC and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies develop in autumn and remain in winter. Given that winter NAM is characterized by an Arctic–midlatitude seesaw centered over the Barents Sea and Kara–Laptev Seas, it is closely linked to the Arctic forcing that corresponds to the Kara–Laptev sea ice increase (reduction) and the associated surface temperature cooling (warming). Moreover, based on both model simulations and observations, the diminishing Kara–Laptev sea ice does induce positive sea level pressure (SLP) anomalies over high-latitude Eurasia in winter, which is accompanied by a significant surface warming in northern Eurasia and cooling south of the Mediterranean. This surface air temperature (SAT) anomaly pattern facilitates increases of specific humidity in northern Eurasia with a major ridge extending southward along the East Asian coast. As a result, the anomalous Eurasian winter precipitation has a more zonal band structure.

Corresponding author address: Fei Li, Nansen-Zhu International Research Centre, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: lifei-715@163.com
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