Recent intensified impact of December Arctic Oscillation on subsequent January temperature in Eurasia and North Africa

  • Shengping He
  • Huijun Wang
  • Yongqi Gao
  • Fei Li


This study reveals an intensified influence of December Arctic Oscillation (AO) on the subsequent January surface air temperature (SAT) over Eurasia and North Africa in recent decades. The connection is statistically insignificant during 1957/58–1979/80 (P1), which becomes statistically significant during 1989/90–2011/12 (P2). The possible causes are further investigated. Associated with positive December AO during P2, significant anomalous anticyclone emerges over the central North Atlantic, which is accompanied with significant westerly and easterly anomalies along 45°−65°N and 20°−40°N, respectively. This favors the significant influence of December AO on the subsequent January SAT and atmospheric circulation over Eurasia and North Africa via triggering the North Atlantic tripole sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly that persists into the subsequent January. By contrast, the December AO-related anomalous anticyclone during P1 is weak and is characterized by two separate centers located in the eastern and western North Atlantic. Correspondingly, the westerly and easterly anomalies over the North Atlantic Ocean are weak and the-related tripole SST anomaly is not well formed, unfavorable for the persistent impact of the December AO into the subsequent January. Further analyses indicate that the different anomalous anticyclone associated with the December AO over the North Atlantic may be induced by the strengthened synoptic-scale eddy feedbacks over the North Atlantic, which may be related to the interdecadal intensification of the storm track activity. Additionally, the planetary stationary wave related to the December AO propagates from surface into upper stratosphere at mid-latitudes during P2, which further propagates downward to the troposphere and causes anomalous atmospheric circulation in the subsequent January.


Arctic Oscillation Planetary waves Storm track Interdecadal change 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants no. 41505073, 41605059, and 41375083), Research Council of Norway supported project SNOWGLACE (Grant no. 244166/E10), and the Young Talent Support Program of the China Association for Science and Technology (Grant no. 2016QNRC001). The NCEP/NCAR reanalysis datasets can be obtained from The HadISLP2r data can be obtained from CRU_TS_3.21 can be obtained from JRA-55 reanalysis can be obtained from The NOAA SST can be obtained from


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchBergenNorway
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters/Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of EducationNanjing University for Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.Climate Change Research CenterChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Nansen-Zhu International Research Center, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center/Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchBergenNorway
  6. 6.NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air ResearchKjellerNorway

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