Volume 69 (1991) Issue 4 Pages 473-487
The effect of excessive snow mass over the Eurasian continent on the spring and summer climate is investigated by using the MRI⋅GCM. The ensemble mean of the four runs (SNOW runs) with the excessive snow mass of 5 cm (water equivalent) at the beginning of March over the snow cover area of the continent is compared with that of the control runs, to deduce the effect of the snow mass on the climatic parameters in the later seasons.
The main results are summarized as follows:
(1) In spring, the albedo effect is dominated in the lower latitudes particularly over the Tibetan Plateau. The reduced net radiation by the anomalous snow cover balances the reduced surface sensible and latent heat fluxes, which account for the significant decrease of surface temperature, cloudiness and total diabatic heating over there in the SNOW runs.
(2) In summer, in contrast, the snow-hydrological effect is significant, particularly in the mid-latitudes. The increase of ground wetness in the SNOW runs causes anomalous cooling and higher pressure near the surface. A moderate signal of the weakened Asian summer monsoon is also obtained. However, the increase of evaporation activates cumulus convection, which partly compensates for the decrease of total diabatic heating by the cooling near the surface. This evaporation/convection feedback seems to work, on the other hand, to sustain the increased ground wetness throughout the summer.
(3) The atmospheric teleconnection patterns induced by the anomalous snow cover over the Tibetan Plateau and east Asia significantly appear over the north Pacific and the North American continent in spring through late summer. These anomalous circulations cause the considerable decrease of surface temperature over the northeastern part of North America.
(4) The implication of these results for the Ice Age issue is also briefly discussed.