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Relationship between extensive and persistent extreme cold events in China and stratospheric circulation anomalies

Hui Yang, Xinrong Chen, Gui-Ying Yang

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between the extensive and persistent extreme cold events (EPECEs) in China and geopotential height anomalies in the stratosphere using daily mean fields of outgoing long wave radiation (OLR) produced by the NCAR and daily atmospheric circulations produced by the NCEP/NCAR. The OLR composite analysis for the EPECE in China demonstrates that the negative OLR height anomalies (cold air) originated from Siberia influence China progressively from north to south. The largest negative OLR height anomaly (cooling event) occurs in the region to the north of the Nanling Mountains. This suggests that the OLR height anomalies can be used to represent the temporal and spatial characteristics of extreme low temperatures and cold air activities in winter in China. The composite analysis of large-scale atmospheric circulations during the EPECE reveals characteristic evolutions of stratospheric and tropospheric circulations during the extreme cold event. We demonstrate the important role of atmospheric circulation anomalies in the outbreak and dissipation of the EPECE in China. We also demonstrate that significant perturbations in the stratospheric circulation occur more than 10 days prior to the outbreak of the EPECE, with positive height anomalies in the Arctic stratosphere. These positive anomalies propagate downward from the stratosphere and affect the formation and development of the high pressure ridge in the middle troposphere over the Ural Mountains. Significant changes also occur in the atmospheric circulation in the mid-latitude stratosphere. These changes propagate downward from the stratosphere and strengthen the low pressure trough in the troposphere in the region to the east of Lake Balkhash and Lake Baikal. Therefore, the changes in the stratospheric circulation during the EPECE in China occur prior to changes in the tropospheric circulation and are very useful for predicting extreme wintertime cold temperatures in China.

Keywords

satellite remote sensing; OLR; extreme cold event; stratosphere; troposphere

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/SOM.2016.01.006
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