Spatial distribution and synoptic conditions of snow accumulation in the Russian Arctic
Snow accumulation and associated synoptic conditions in the Russian Arctic are analysed based on snow depth data from 1950 to 2013 from the All-Russian Research Institute of Hydrometeorological Information—World Data Centre data set. The mean duration of snow coverage in the Russian Arctic is approximately eight to nine months. While the period of snowmelt is usually very short (one or two months), snow accumulates during most of the cold season (October–May). Snow accumulation is associated with negative anomalies of sea level pressure and positive anomalies of air temperature, which means increased cyclonic activity over the analysed region. The cyclones differ in intensity and localization, depending on the area of snowfall. In the western part of the Russian Arctic the cyclones and air masses that bring snowfall may originate from the North Atlantic, while in the eastern part they originate from the Bering Sea, Okhotsk Sea or the North Pacific. The cyclones that bring snowfall may also form locally along the zonal border between two different air masses: the very cold, polar, continental air originating from the Siberian High and the Arctic air from the north, which is often warmer and always more humid than the continental air.
Keywords: Polar climate; snow cover; air circulation patterns.
(Published: 30 March 2016)
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Citation: Polar Research 2016, 35, 25916, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v35.25916
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