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Impacts of the East Asian Winter Monsoon and Local Sea Surface Temperature on Heavy Snowfall over the Yeongdong Region

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  • 1 School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, and Safety Research Division, National Disaster Management Research Institute, Ulsan, South Korea
  • 2 School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, South Korea
  • 3 School of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, and Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, South Korea
  • 4 Department of Atmospheric Science, Kongju National University, Gongju, South Korea
  • 5 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
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Abstract

This research investigates the impact of local sea surface temperature (SST) on the 2-month (January and February) accumulated snowfall over the Yeongdong (YD) region. The YD region is strongly affected by synoptic-scale factors such as the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). The relationships of snowfall over the YD region to the EAWM and local SST are examined based on observational analyses and sensitivity experiments using a regional climate model. In the sensitivity experiments, local SST is replaced with the 33-yr mean winter SST (1982–2014). The observational analysis shows that both the synoptic environment and local SST are important factors for the occurrence of anomalous heavy snowfall over the YD region. The favorable synoptic environments can be characterized by eastward expansion of the Siberian high over Manchuria and corresponding enhancement of easterly anomalies over the YD region. These conditions are more frequently observed during the weak EAWM years than during the strong EAWM. Furthermore, warm SST over the East Sea contributes to heavy snowfall over the YD region by providing heat and moisture in the lower troposphere, which are important sources of energy for the formation of heavy snowfall. Warm SST anomalies over the East Sea enhance low-level moisture convergence over the YD region, while cold SST anomalies lead to reduced moisture convergence. Sensitivity experiments indicate that local SST can significantly affect snowfall amount over the YD region when the synoptic environments are favorable. However, without these synoptic conditions (expansion of the Siberian high and easterly inflow), the impact of local SST on the snowfall over the YD region is not significant.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dong-Hyun Cha, dhcha@unist.ac.kr

Abstract

This research investigates the impact of local sea surface temperature (SST) on the 2-month (January and February) accumulated snowfall over the Yeongdong (YD) region. The YD region is strongly affected by synoptic-scale factors such as the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM). The relationships of snowfall over the YD region to the EAWM and local SST are examined based on observational analyses and sensitivity experiments using a regional climate model. In the sensitivity experiments, local SST is replaced with the 33-yr mean winter SST (1982–2014). The observational analysis shows that both the synoptic environment and local SST are important factors for the occurrence of anomalous heavy snowfall over the YD region. The favorable synoptic environments can be characterized by eastward expansion of the Siberian high over Manchuria and corresponding enhancement of easterly anomalies over the YD region. These conditions are more frequently observed during the weak EAWM years than during the strong EAWM. Furthermore, warm SST over the East Sea contributes to heavy snowfall over the YD region by providing heat and moisture in the lower troposphere, which are important sources of energy for the formation of heavy snowfall. Warm SST anomalies over the East Sea enhance low-level moisture convergence over the YD region, while cold SST anomalies lead to reduced moisture convergence. Sensitivity experiments indicate that local SST can significantly affect snowfall amount over the YD region when the synoptic environments are favorable. However, without these synoptic conditions (expansion of the Siberian high and easterly inflow), the impact of local SST on the snowfall over the YD region is not significant.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dong-Hyun Cha, dhcha@unist.ac.kr
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