, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 11-15
Date: 24 Oct 2013

Severe winter weather as a response to the lowest Arctic sea-ice anomalies

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Possible impact of reduced Arctic sea-ice on winter severe weather in China is investigated regarding the snowstorm over southern China in January 2008. The sea-ice conditions in the summer (July–September) and fall (September–November) of 2007 show that the sea-ice is the lowest that year. During the summer and fall of 2007, sea ice displayed a significant decrease in the East Siberian, the northern Chukchi Sea, the western Beaufort Sea, the Barents Sea, and the Kara Sea. A ECHAM5.4 atmospheric general circulation model is forced with realistic sea-ice conditions and strong thermal responses with warmer surface air temperature and higher-than-normal heat flux associated with the sea-ice anomalies are found. The model shows remote atmospheric responses over East Asia in January 2008, which result in severe snow storm over southern China. Strong water-vapor transported from the Bay of Bengal and from the Pacific Ocean related to Arctic sea-ice anomalies in the fall (instead of summer) of 2007 is considered as one of the main causes of the snowstorm formation.

Foundation item: The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 40930848; the National High Technology Reseach and Development Program of China under contract No. 2010CB950301; Public Science and Technology Funds Projects of Ocean under contract No. 201205007-7; National Key Technology R&D Program under contract No. 2011BAC03B02-03-03; Chinese Polar Environment Comprehensive Investigation and Assessment Programes under contract Nos CHINARE2013-03-01 and CHINARE2013-04-04.