A Potential Seasonal Predictor for Summer Rainfall over Eastern China: Spring Eurasian Snowmelt

Bei Xu aThe National Key Laboratory of Water Disaster Prevention and College of Oceanography, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
bCollege of Intelligent Science and Control Engineering, Jinling Institute of Technology, Nanjing, China

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Gen Li aThe National Key Laboratory of Water Disaster Prevention and College of Oceanography, Hohai University, Nanjing, China

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Abstract

The hydrological effect of snow over Eurasia is important for regulating regional and global climate through affecting land–atmosphere energy exchange. Based on observational and reanalysis datasets, this study investigates the effect of spring Eurasian snowmelt on the following summer rainfall over eastern China during the period of 1979–2018. The results show that a substantial meridional dipole pattern of summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China is closely associated with the preceding spring snowmelt anomalies over Eurasia, especially over remote Siberia. Excessive snowmelt anomalies over Siberia in spring could result in a wetter local soil condition from spring until the following summer, thereby increasing latent heat fluxes and reducing local surface temperature, and vice versa. Then, the anomalous summer surface cooling over Siberia increases the meridional gradient of temperature between the Eurasian midlatitudes and high latitudes, which intensifies the Eurasian atmospheric baroclinicity and motivates the eddy‐induced geopotential height responses along with the significant wave propagations spreading from the Eurasian high latitudes to Lake Baikal. As a result, excessive spring snowmelt anomalies over Siberia tend to be accompanied with an anomalous anticyclone circulation to the east of Lake Baikal and an anomalous cyclonic circulation over southeastern China in the following summer. This could lead to a meridional dipole pattern of summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China, with deficient rainfall over northern China and slightly excessive rainfall over southern China. The present findings highlight the lagged effect of spring Eurasian snowmelt on summer climate over eastern China, with implications for the regional seasonal climate prediction.

Significance Statement

Frequent summer droughts and floods over eastern China cause serious damage to the regional economy and society. This study reveals an important effect of spring Eurasian snowmelt anomalies on the following summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China. Through affecting the local land–atmosphere energy exchange and regulating the remote atmospheric circulation, excessive spring Eurasian snowmelt anomalies could induce a substantial meridional dipole pattern of summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China, with deficient rainfall over northern China and excessive rainfall over southern China, and vice versa. Therefore, this work identifies spring Eurasian snowmelt as a potential seasonal predictor for summer rainfall over eastern China, which is home to more than a billion people. This is important for the local livelihood, including agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, human health, and economies.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Gen Li, ligen@hhu.edu.cn

Abstract

The hydrological effect of snow over Eurasia is important for regulating regional and global climate through affecting land–atmosphere energy exchange. Based on observational and reanalysis datasets, this study investigates the effect of spring Eurasian snowmelt on the following summer rainfall over eastern China during the period of 1979–2018. The results show that a substantial meridional dipole pattern of summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China is closely associated with the preceding spring snowmelt anomalies over Eurasia, especially over remote Siberia. Excessive snowmelt anomalies over Siberia in spring could result in a wetter local soil condition from spring until the following summer, thereby increasing latent heat fluxes and reducing local surface temperature, and vice versa. Then, the anomalous summer surface cooling over Siberia increases the meridional gradient of temperature between the Eurasian midlatitudes and high latitudes, which intensifies the Eurasian atmospheric baroclinicity and motivates the eddy‐induced geopotential height responses along with the significant wave propagations spreading from the Eurasian high latitudes to Lake Baikal. As a result, excessive spring snowmelt anomalies over Siberia tend to be accompanied with an anomalous anticyclone circulation to the east of Lake Baikal and an anomalous cyclonic circulation over southeastern China in the following summer. This could lead to a meridional dipole pattern of summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China, with deficient rainfall over northern China and slightly excessive rainfall over southern China. The present findings highlight the lagged effect of spring Eurasian snowmelt on summer climate over eastern China, with implications for the regional seasonal climate prediction.

Significance Statement

Frequent summer droughts and floods over eastern China cause serious damage to the regional economy and society. This study reveals an important effect of spring Eurasian snowmelt anomalies on the following summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China. Through affecting the local land–atmosphere energy exchange and regulating the remote atmospheric circulation, excessive spring Eurasian snowmelt anomalies could induce a substantial meridional dipole pattern of summer rainfall anomalies over eastern China, with deficient rainfall over northern China and excessive rainfall over southern China, and vice versa. Therefore, this work identifies spring Eurasian snowmelt as a potential seasonal predictor for summer rainfall over eastern China, which is home to more than a billion people. This is important for the local livelihood, including agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, human health, and economies.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Gen Li, ligen@hhu.edu.cn

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