Extreme cold events frequently occur around the world in recent several years and arouse widespread concern. In this study, 17 record-breaking event processes (RBEPs) of low temperature during 1981–2012 are identified by using daily minimum temperature at 1897 meteorological stations in China. These RBEPs are classified into two types based on the occurring area at northern or southern China to compositely examine the associated circulations. Although the correspondence between Arctic oscillation (AO) and RBEPs is not linearly stable, there still exist relationship between them, i.e. under AO negative phase the RBEPs tend to occur at northern China, nor the southern part, where the RBEPs prefer to happen under AO positive phase. In the RBEPs occurring at southern China, the continent high pressure over Mongolia area is extremely intensified and the East Asian polar front jet stream is enhanced accompanied with strong synoptic-scale eddy kinetic energy transports. Correspondingly, the cold air masses break out and unobstructed southward intrude to low latitudes, causing severe cooling effect in southern China. In the RBEPs occurring at northern China, however, the extremely intensified high pressure over northern Siberian area, combining with the northward enhanced subtropical jet stream, lead to the cold air mass accumulation and blockage at mid-latitudes and therefore RBEPs of low temperature at this area. Further study implies that interdecadal change of the AO phase and differences of synoptic-scale eddy activity might synthetically attribute to the different regional preference of those RBEPs of low temperature that are mostly located at southern China in 1990s but concentrated in northern China in 2000s.
Regionality Record-breaking event Low temperature Arctic oscillation Jet stream
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We thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions for improving the manuscript. This work is jointly supported by the China National Basic Research Program under Grants 2012CB955901, the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants 41475092 and 41130963, the National Public Benefit Research Foundation of China under Grant GYHY201006019, the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change.
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