Characteristics of Eurasian snowmelt and its impacts on the land surface and surface climate

Kunhui Ye, Ngar Cheung Lau

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21 Scopus citations


The local hydrological and climatic impacts of Eurasian snowmelt are studied using advanced land surface and atmospheric data. It is found that intense melting of snow is located at mid-high latitudes in April and May. Snowmelt plays an important role in determining the seasonal cycles of surface runoff and soil moisture (SM). Specifically, melting is accompanied by sharp responses in surface runoff and surface SM while the impacts are delayed for deeper-layer of soil. This is particularly significant in the western sector of Eurasia. On interannual timescales, the responses of various surface parameters to snowmelt in the same month are rather significant. However, the persistence of surface SM anomalies is weak due to the strong soil evaporation anomalies and surplus of surface energy for evaporation. Strong impacts on the sensible heat flux, planetary boundary layer height and precipitation in the next month following the melting of snow are identified in west Russia and Siberia. Downward propagation of surface SM anomalies is observed and a positive evaporation–convection feedback is identified in west Russia. However, the subsequent impacts on the local convective precipitation in late spring-summer and its contribution to the total precipitation are seemingly weak. The atmospheric water vapor convergence has strong control over the total precipitation anomalies. Overall, snowmelt-produced SM anomalies are not found to significantly impact the late spring-summer local climate anomalies in Northern Eurasia. Therefore, the delayed remote-responses of atmospheric circulation and climate to the melting of Eurasian snow may be only possible near the melting period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1138
Number of pages24
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 24 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Climate anomalies
  • Eurasian snowmelt
  • Hydrological effects


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