Possible impact of North Atlantic warming on the decadal change in the dominant modes of winter Eurasian snow water equivalent during 1979–2015

  • Chenghu Sun
  • Ruonan ZhangEmail author
  • Weijing Li
  • Jieshun Zhu
  • Song YangEmail author


An east–west dipole mode of winter Eurasian snow water equivalent (SWE) is found during the period of 1979–2015. It accounts for about 23.4% of the total variance, and displayed a significant decadal change in the early-2000s. The basin warming footprint of the North Atlantic likely exerted an influence on this decadal change, and the observation-based evidence is reproduced by numerical experiments using the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM3.1). A basin-wide warming of North Atlantic sea surface temperature induced atmospheric anomalies by exciting a stationary Rossby wave train, which prorogates from the subtropical North Atlantic to the mid-to-high latitudes of the Eurasian continent. Along with the Rossby wave train, an enhanced upper-level ridge occurs over the Ural Mountain, and a deepened upper-level trough appears over the eastern Siberian Plateau, which promotes heavy snowfall over the eastern Siberian Plateau and light snowfall to its west. Thus, it is plausible that the North Atlantic warming plays a role in exciting the Rossby wave train to modulate the decadal change in the east–west dipole SWE mode of the extratropical Eurasian continent. The possible moisture transport paths associated with the decadal change in the east–west dipole SWE mode are also discussed.


North Atlantic warming Eurasian snow decadal variation Rossby wave train 



This research is supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (part of the 13th Five-Year Plan) (Grant 2016YFA0601501) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 41790472, 91637208, 41730959, and 41505053).


  1. Adler RF, Huffman GJ, Chang A et al (2003) The version 2 global precipitation climatology project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979-present). J Hydrometeor 4:1147–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander MA, Bhatt US, Walsh JE, Timlin MS, Miller JS, Scott JD (2004) The atmospheric response to realistic Arctic sea ice anomalies in an AGCM during winter. J Clim 17:890–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Broxton P, Zeng X, Dawson N (2016) Why do global reanalyses and land data assimilation products underestimate snow water equivalent? J Hydrometeor 17:2743–2761. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bueh C, Nakamura H (2007) Scandinavian pattern and its climate impact. Q J Royal Meteorol Soc 133:2117–2131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen JL, Furtado JC, Barlow MA, Alexeev VA, Cherry JE (2012) Arctic warming, increasing snow cover and widespread boreal winter cooling. Environ Res Lett 7:14007–14014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen JL, Jones J, Furtado JC, Tziperman E (2013) Warm Arctic, cold continents: A common pattern related to Arctic sea ice melt, snow advance, and extreme winter weather. Oceanography. Google Scholar
  7. Collins WD, Bitz CM, Blackmon ML (2006) The Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3). J Clim 19:2122–2143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dash SK, Singh GP, Shekhar MS, Vernekar AD (2005) Response of the Indian summer monsoon circulation and rainfall to seasonal snow depth anomaly over Eurasia. Clim Dyn 24:1–10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davini P, Cagnazzo C, Gualdi S, Navarra A (2012) Bidimensional diagnostics, variability, and trends of Northern Hemisphere blocking. J Clim 25:6496–6509. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Day JJ, Hargreaves JC, Annan JD, Abe-Ouchi A (2012) Sources of multi-decadal variability in Arctic sea ice extent. Environ Res Lett 7:034011. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dee DP, Uppala SM, Simmons AJ et al (2011) The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Quart J R Meteor Soc 137:553–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fasullo J (2004) A stratified diagnosis of the Indian monsoon–Eurasian snow cover relationship. J Clim 17:1110–1122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Francis JA, Chan W, Leathers DJ (2009) Winter Northern Hemisphere weather patterns remember summer Arctic sea-ice extent. Geophys Res Lett 36:L07503. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gastineau G, García-Serrano J, Frankignoul C (2017) The influence of autumnal Eurasian snow cover on climate and its link with Arctic sea ice cover. J Clim 30:7599–7619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ghatak D, Deser C, Frei A, Dong G, Phillips A, Robinson DA, Stroeve J (2012) Simulated Siberian snow cover response to observed Arctic sea ice loss, 1979–2008. J Geophys Res 117:D23108. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hatzaki M, Wu R (2015) The south-eastern Europe winter precipitation variability in relation to the north Atlantic SST. Atmos Res 152:61–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Honda M, Inoue J, Yamane S (2009) Influence of low Arctic sea ice minima on anomalously cold Eurasian winters. Geophys Res Lett 36:262–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoskins BJ, James IN, White GH (1983) The shape, propagation and mean-flow interaction of large-scale weather systems. J Atmos Sci 40:1595–1612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jung O, Sung M, Sato K et al (2017) How does the SST variability over the western North Atlantic Ocean control Arctic warming over the Barents-Kara Seas? Environ Res Lett 12:034021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kripalani RH, Kulkarni AA (1999) Climatology and variability of historical Soviet snow depth data: some new prespectives in snow-Indian monsoon teleconnections. Clim Dyn 15:475–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kuwano YA, Minobe S, Xie S (2010) Precipitation response to the Gulf Stream in an atmospheric GCM. J Clim 23:3676–3698. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu JP, Curry JA, Wang HJ, Song MR, Horton RM (2012) Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall. Proc Natl Acad Sci 109(11):4074–4079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu YY, Wang W, Zhou W, Chen W (2014) Three Eurasian teleconnection patterns: spatial structures, temporal variability, and associated winter climate anomalies. Clim Dyn 42:2817–2839. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Luo D, Chen Y, Dai A, Mu M, Zhang R, Simmonds I (2017) Winter Eurasian cooling linked with the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Environ Res Lett 12:125002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ma J, Xie SP (2013) Regional patterns of sea surface temperature change: a source of uncertainty in future projections of precipitation and atmospheric circulation. J Clim 26:2482–2501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mahajan S, Zhang R, Delworth TL (2011) Impact of the atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) on Arctic surface air temperature and sea ice variability. J Clim 24:6573–6581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Minobe S, Kuwano-Yoshida A, Komori N, Xie SP, Small RJ (2008) Influence of the gulf stream on the troposphere. Nat 452:206–209. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Minobe S, Miyashita M, Kuwano-Yoshida A, Tokinaga H, Xie SP (2010) Atmospheric response to the Gulf Stream: seasonal variations. J Clim 23:3699–3719. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mori M, Watanabe M, Shiogama H, Inoue J, Kimoto M (2014) Robust Arctic sea-ice influence on the frequent Eurasian cold winters in past decades. Nat Geos. Google Scholar
  30. Nakanowatari T, Sato K, Inoue J (2014) Predictability of the Barents Sea ice in early winter: remote effects of oceanic and atmospheric thermal conditions from the North Atlantic. J Clim 27:8884–8901CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. O’Gorman PA (2014) Contrasting responses of mean and extreme snowfall to climate change. Nature 512:416–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Omrani NE, Keenlyside NS, Bader JR, Manzini E (2014) Stratosphere key for wintertime atmospheric response to warm Atlantic decadal conditions. Clim Dyn 42:649–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Orsolini YJ, Senan R, Benestad RE, Melsom A (2011) Autumn atmospheric response to the 2007 low Arctic sea ice extent in coupled ocean–atmosphere hindcasts. Clim Dyn 114:D19108Google Scholar
  34. Orvik KA, Skagseth O (2005) Heat flux variations in the eastern Norwegian Atlantic Current toward the Arctic from moored instruments, 1995–2005. Geophys Res Lett 32:L14610. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Page ES (1954) Continuous inspection schemes. Biometrika 41:100–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Palmer TN, Sun ZB (1985) A modelling and observational study of the relationship between sea surface temperature in the North-West Atlantic and the atmospheric general circulation. Q J R Meteorol Soc 111:947–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Peings Y, Magnusdottir G (2014) Forcing of the wintertime atmospheric circulation by the multidecadal fluctuations of the North Atlantic Ocean. Environ Res Lett 9:034018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Popova V (2007) Winter snow depth variability over northern Eurasia in relation to recent atmospheric circulation changes. Int J Climatol 27:1721–1733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rayner NA, Parker DE, Horton EB et al (2003) Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century. J Geophys Res 108(D14):4407. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Reilly CHO, Minobe S, Yoshida AK, Woollings T (2017) The Gulf Stream influence on wintertime North Atlantic jet variability. Q J R Meteorol Soc 143:173–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Robinson D, Dewey K, Heim R (1993) Global snow cover monitoring: an update. Bull Amer Meteor Soc 74:1689–1696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robinson D, Estilow T, and NOAA CDR Program (2012) NOAA climate data record (CDR) of Northern Hemisphere (NH) Snow Cover Extent (SCE), Version 1. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.
  43. Rodwell MJ, Rowell DP, Folland CK (1999) Oceanic forcing of the wintertime North Atlantic oscillation and European climate. Nat 398:320–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Saba VS, Griffies SM, Anderson WG (2016) Enhanced warming of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean under climate change. J Geophys Res Oceans 121:118–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sato K, Inoue J, Watanabe M (2014) Influence of the Gulf Stream on the Barents Sea ice retreat and Eurasian coldness during early winter. Environ Res Lett 9:084009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Screen JA, Simmonds I (2010) Increasing fall-winter energy loss from the Arctic Ocean and its role in Arctic temperature amplification. Geophys Res Lett. Google Scholar
  47. Seager R, Kushnir Y, Nakamura J, Ting M, Naik N (2010) Northern hemisphere winter snow anomalies: eNSO, NAO and the winter of 2009/2010. Geophys Res Lett 37:L14703. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stroeve JC, Serreze MC, Barrett A, Kindig DN (2011) Attribution of recent changes in autumn cyclone associated precipitation in the Arctic. Tellus A 63:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sun CH, Yang S, Li WJ, Zhang RN, Wu RG (2016) Interannual variations of the dominant modes of East Asian winter monsoon and possible links to Arctic sea ice. Clim Dyn 47:481–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sutton RT, Dong B (2012) Atlantic Ocean influence on a shift in European climate in the 1990s. Nat Geosci 5:788–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Takala M, Luojus K, Pulliainen J, Derksen C, Lemmetyinen J, Kärnä JP, Koskinen J, Bojkov B (2011) Estimating northern hemisphere snow water equivalent for climate research through assimilation of space-borne radiometer data and ground-based measurements. Remote Sens Environ 115:3517–3529. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Takaya K, Nakamura H (2001) A formulation of a phase-independent wave-activity flux for stationary and migratory quasigeostrophic eddies on a zonally varying basic flow. J Atmos Sci 58:608–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tokinaga H, Xie SP, Mukougawa H (2017) Early 20th-century Arctic warming intensified by Pacific and Atlantic multidecadal variability. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:6227–6232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vannière B, Czaja A, Dacre H, Woollings T (2017) A “Cold Path” for the Gulf Stream-troposphere connection. J Clim 30:1363–1379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wallace JM, Gutzler DS (1981) Teleconnections in the geopotential height field during the northern hemisphere winter. Mon Weather Rev 109:784–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wang B, Wu ZW, Chang CP, Liu J, Li JP, Zhou TJ (2010) Another look at interannual-to-interdecadal variations of the East Asian Winter Monsoon: the Northern and Southern temperature modes. J Clim 23:1495–1512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wegmann M, Orsolini Y, Vázquez M et al (2015) Arctic moisture source for Eurasian snow cover variations in autumn. Environ Res Lett 10:054015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wegmann M, Orsolini Y, Zolina O (2018) Warm Arctic—cold Siberia: comparing the recent and the early 20th-century Arctic warmings. Environ Res Lett 13:025009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Woollings TJ, Hoskins BJ, Blackburn M, Berrisford P (2008) A new Rossby wave-breaking interpretation of the North Atlantic Oscillation. J Atmos Sci 65:609–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wu MC, Chan JCL (1997) Upper-level features associated with winter monsoon surges over south China. Mon Weather Rev 125:317–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wu R, Kirtman B (2007) Observed relationship of spring and summer East Asian rainfall with winter and spring Eurasian snow. J Clim 20:1285–1304. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wu L, Cai W, Zhang L et al (2012) Enhanced warming over the global subtropical western boundary currents. Nat Clim Change 2:161–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wu R, Liu G, Ping Z (2014) Contrasting Eurasian spring and summer climate anomalies associated with western and eastern Eurasian spring snow cover changes. J Geophys Res 119:7410–7424. Google Scholar
  64. Ye K (2019) Interannual variability of March snow mass over Northern Eurasia and its relation to the concurrent and preceding surface air temperature, precipitation and atmospheric circulation. Clim Dyn 52:2813. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ye K, Wu R (2017) Autumn snow cover variability over northern Eurasia and roles of atmospheric circulation Adv. Atmos Sci 34:847. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yim SY, Jhun JG, Lu R, Wang B (2010) Two distinct patterns of spring Eurasian snow cover anomaly and their impacts on the East Asian summer monsoon. J Geophys Res 115:D22113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yu L, Weller RA (2007) Objectively analyzed air–sea heat fluxes for the global ice-free oceans (1981–2005). Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:527–539. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zhang X, He J, Zhang J, Polyakov I, Gerdes R, Inoue J, Wu P (2013) Enhanced poleward moisture transport and amplified northern high-latitude wetting trend. Nat Clim Change 3:47–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather and Institute of Climate SystemChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisastersNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences & Institute of Atmospheric SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological SecurityShanghaiChina
  5. 5.National Climate Center, China Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  6. 6.Earth System Science Interdisciplinary CenterUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  7. 7.School of Atmospheric SciencesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  8. 8.Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Climate Change and Natural Disaster StudiesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations