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Patterns of Asian Winter Climate Variability and Links to Arctic Sea Ice

Author(s): Bingyi Wu; Jingzhi Su; Rosanne D’Arrigo

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Abstract: This paper describes two dominant patterns of Asian winter climate variability: the Siberian high (SH) pattern and the Asia-Arctic (AA) pattern. The former depicts atmospheric variability closely associated with the intensity of the Siberian high, and the latter characterizes the teleconnection pattern of atmospheric variability between Asia and the Arctic, which is distinct from the Arctic Oscillation (AO). The AA pattern plays more important roles in regulating winter precipitation and the 850 hPa meridional wind component over East Asia than the SH pattern, which controls surface air temperature variability over East Asia. In the Arctic Ocean and its marginal seas, sea ice loss in both autumn and winter could bring the positive phase of the SH pattern, or cause the negative phase of the AA pattern. The latter corresponds to a weakened East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) and enhanced winter precipitation in the mid-latitudes of the Asian continent and East Asia. For the SH pattern, sea ice loss in the prior autumn emerges in the Siberian marginal seas, and winter loss mainly occurs in the Barents Sea, Labrador Sea, and Davis Strait. For the AA pattern, sea ice loss in the prior autumn is observed in the Barents-Kara Seas, the western Laptev Sea, and the Beaufort Sea, and winter loss only occurs in some areas of the Barents Sea, the Labrador Sea, and Davis Strait. Simulation experiments with observed sea ice forcing also support that Arctic sea ice loss may favor frequent occurrence of the negative phase of the AA pattern. The results also imply that the relationship between Arctic sea ice loss and winter atmospheric variability over East Asia is unstable, which is a challenge for predicting the EAWM based on Arctic sea ice loss.


Year: 2016

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