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Yong Liu, Huopo Chen, Huijun Wang, and Yubao Qiu

ABSTRACT

The changing characteristics of lake ice phenology over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are investigated using historical satellite retrieved datasets during 2002–15 in this study. The results indicate that the freezing process mainly starts in December, and the ice melting process generally occurs in April for most lakes. However, the changes in lake ice phenology have varied depending on the location in recent years, with delayed break-up dates and prolonged ice durations in the southern TP, but no consistent changes have occurred in the lakes in the northern TP. Further analysis presents a close connection between the variation in the lake ice break-up date/ice duration over the southern TP and the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The positive NAO generally excites an anomalous wave activity that propagates southward from the North Atlantic to North Africa and, in turn, strengthens the African–Asian jet stream at its entrance. Because of the blocking effect of the TP, the enhanced westerly jet can be divided into two branches and the south branch flow can deepen the India–Myanmar trough, which further strengthens the anomalous cyclonic circulation and water vapor transport. Therefore, the increased water vapor transport from the northern Indian Ocean to the southern region of the TP can increase the snowfall over this region. The increased snow cover over the lake acts as an insulating layer and lowers the lake surface temperature in the following spring by means of snow–ice feedback activity, resulting in a delayed ice break-up date and the increased ice duration of the lakes over the southern TP in recent years.

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Yong Liu, Huopo Chen, Huijun Wang, Jianqi Sun, Hua Li, and Yubao Qiu

Abstract

Lake ice phenology, as an indicator for climate variability and change, exerts a great influence on regional climate and hydrometeorology. In this study, the changing characteristics of lake ice phenology at Lake Qinghai (LQH) are investigated using retrieved historical datasets during 1979–2016. The results show that the variation of the lake freeze-up date over LQH is characterized by a strong interannual variability. Further analysis has revealed that November sea ice concentration (SIC) variation in the Kara Sea can exert a great impact on the freeze-up date at LQH. During the low sea ice years, the open sea serves as a strong diabatic heating source, largely contributing to the enhanced Arctic Eliassen–Palmer flux, which then results in the deceleration of zonal wind in the middle and high latitudes. In addition to this, accompanied with the decreasing Kara SIC, the enhanced stationary Rossby wave flux propagating along the high-latitude regions may further exert remarkable influences in deepening the East Asian trough, which provides a favorable atmospheric circulation pattern for cold air intrusion from the Arctic and Siberian regions to mainland China. The decreased surface air temperature would thus advance the freezing date over LQH. Furthermore, the close relationship between atmospheric circulation anomalies and Kara SIC variations is validated by a large ensemble of simulations from the Community Earth System Model, and the atmospheric circulation patterns induced by the SIC anomalies are reproduced to some extent. Therefore, the November Kara Sea ice anomaly might be an important predictor for the variation in the freeze-up date at LQH.

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