Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 820–833 | Cite as

A comparison of the effects of interannual Arctic sea ice loss and ENSO on winter haze days: Observational analyses and AGCM simulations

  • Shuanglin Li
  • Zhe Han
  • Huopo Chen
Special Collection on the Heavy and Persistent Haze–Fog Episodes in Winter 2016 in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Area of China


This study compares the impacts of interannual Arctic sea ice loss and ENSO events on winter haze days in mainland China through observational analyses and AGCM sensitivity experiments. The results suggest that (1) Arctic sea ice loss favors an increase in haze days in central–eastern China; (2) the impact of ENSO is overall contained within southern China, with increased (reduced) haze days during La Niña (El Niño) winters; and (3) the impacts from sea ice loss and ENSO are linearly additive. Mechanistically, Arctic sea ice loss causes quasi-barotropic positive height anomalies over the region from northern Europe to the Ural Mountains (Urals in brief) and weak and negative height anomalies over the region from central Asia to northeastern Asia. The former favors intensified frequency of the blocking over the regions from northern Europe to the Urals, whereas the latter favors an even air pressure distribution over Siberia, Mongolia, and East Asia. This large-scale circulation pattern favors more frequent occurrence of calm and steady weather in northern China and, as a consequence, increased occurrence of haze days. In comparison, La Niña (El Niño) exerts its influence along a tropical pathway by inducing a cyclonic (anticyclonic) lower-tropospheric atmospheric circulation response over the subtropical northwestern Pacific. The northeasterly (southwesterly) anomaly at the northwestern rear of the cyclone (anticyclone) causes reduced (intensified) rainfall over southeastern China, which favors increased (reduced) occurrence of haze days through the rain-washing effect.

Key words

winter haze days Arctic sea ice loss ENSO AGCM experiments 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric ScienceChina University of GeoscienceWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Climate Change Research CenterChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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