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Impacts of Snow Initialization on Subseasonal Forecasts of Surface Air Temperature for the Cold Season

Journal article
Authors J. H. Jeong
Hans W. Linderholm
S. H. Woo
Chris K. Folland
B. M. Kim
S. J. Kim
Deliang Chen
Published in Journal of Climate
Volume 26
Issue 6
Pages 1956-1972
ISSN 0894-8755
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 1956-1972
Language en
Keywords north-atlantic sst, albedo feedback, ice anomalies, atmospheric, response, climate-change, variability, winter, cover, circulation, skill
Subject categories Climate Research, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


The present study examines the impacts of snow initialization on surface air temperature by a number of ensemble seasonal predictability experiments using the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model version 3 (CAM3) AGCM with and without snow initialization. The study attempts to isolate snow signals on surface air temperature. In this preliminary study, any effects of variations in sea ice extent are ignored and do not explicitly identify possible impacts on atmospheric circulation. The Canadian Meteorological Center (CMC) daily snow depth analysis was used in defining initial snow states, where anomaly rescaling was applied in order to account for the systematic bias of the CAM3 snow depth with respect to the CMC analysis. Two suites of seasonal (3 months long) ensemble hindcasts starting at each month in the colder part of the year (September–April) with and without the snow initialization were performed for 12 recent years (1999–2010), and the predictability skill of surface air temperature was estimated. Results show that considerable potential predictability increases up to 2 months ahead can be attained using snow initialization. Relatively large increases are found over East Asia, western Russia, and western Canada in the later part of this period. It is suggested that the predictability increases are sensitive to the strength of snow–albedo feedback determined by given local climate conditions; large gains tend to exist over the regions of strong snow–albedo feedback. Implications of these results for seasonal predictability over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere and future direction for this research are discussed.

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