AbstractObservational studies link a persistent dipole of autumn and winter snow cover anomalies over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and Mongolia with winter Pacific-North America (PNA)-like atmospheric variations. This study investigates atmospheric responses to such snow forcings using multiple ensemble transient integrations of the CAM4 and CLM4.0 models. Model boundary conditions are based on climatological sea ice extent and sea surface temperature, and satellite observations of snow cover extent (SCE) and snow water equivalent (SWE) over the TP and Mongolia from October to March in 1997/98 (heavy TP and light Mongolia snow) and 1984/85 (light TP and heavy Mongolia snow), with model derived SCE and SWE elsewhere. In various forcing experiments, the ensemble-mean difference between simulations with these two extreme snow states identifies local, distant, concurrent, and delayed climatic responses.The main atmospheric responses to a dipole of high TP and low Mongolia SCE persisting from October to March (versus the opposite extreme) are strong TP surface cooling, warming in the surrounding China and Mongolia region, and a winter positive PNA-like response. The localized response is maintained by persistent diabatic cooling or heating, and the remote PNA response results mainly from the increased horizontal eastward propagation of stationary Rossby wave energy due to persistent TP snow forcing and also a winter transient eddy feedback mechanism. With a less persistent dipole anomaly in autumn or winter only, local responses are similar depending on the specific anomalies, but the winter PNA-like response is nearly absent or noticeably reduced.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 25, 2017
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