Eurasian snow cover variability and its association with summer rainfall in China
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This study investigates the statistical linkage between summer rainfall in China and the preceding spring Eurasian snow water equivalent (SWE), using the datasets of summer rainfall observations from 513 stations, satellite-observed snow water equivalent, and atmospheric circulation variables in the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis during the period from 1979 to 2004. The first two coupled modes are identified by using the singular value decomposition (SVD) method. The leading SVD mode of the spring SWE variability shows a coherent negative anomaly in most of Eurasia with the opposite anomaly in some small areas of the Tibetan Plateau and East Asia. The mode displays strong interannual variability, superposed on an interdecadal variation that occurred in the late 1980s, with persistent negative phases in 1979–1987 and frequent positive phases afterwards. When the leading mode is in its positive phase, it corresponds to less SWE in spring throughout most of Eurasia. Meanwhile, excessive SWE in some small areas of the Tibetan Plateau and East Asia, summer rainfall in South and Southeast China tends to be increased, whereas it would be decreased in the up-reaches of the Yellow River. In recent two decades, the decreased spring SWE in Eurasia may be one of reasons for severe droughts in North and Northeast China and much more significant rainfall events in South and Southeast China. The second SVD mode of the spring SWE variability shows opposite spatial variations in western and eastern Eurasia, while most of the Tibetan Plateau and East Asia are in phase. This mode significantly correlates with the succeeding summer rainfall in North and Northeast China, that is, less spring SWE in western Eurasia and excessive SWE in eastern Eurasia and the Tibetan Plateau tend to be associated with decreased summer rainfall in North and Northeast China.
Key wordsEurasian snow cover Chinese summer rainfall interdecadal variation
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