AbstractThe salient features and drivers of wintertime warm and cold spells in the high Arctic are investigated. The analysis is based on the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts interim reanalysis dataset. It is found that the warm spells are systematically associated with an intense sea level pressure and geopotential height anomaly dipole, displaying a low over the Arctic basin and a high over northern Eurasia. This configuration creates a natural pathway for extreme moisture influx episodes from the Atlantic sector into the Arctic (herein termed moisture intrusions). Anomalous cyclone frequency at the pole (largely attributable to local cyclogenesis) then favors a deep penetration of these intrusions across the Arctic basin. The large-scale circulation pattern associated with the warm spells further favors the advection of cold air across Siberia, leading to the so-called warm Arctic–cold Eurasia pattern previously discussed in the literature. On the contrary, cold Arctic extremes are associated with a severely reduced frequency of moisture intrusions and a persistent low pressure system over the pole. This effectively isolates the high latitudes from midlatitude air masses, favoring an intense radiative cooling of the polar region.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Feb 7, 2018
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