Relationship between East Asian Cold Surges and Synoptic Patterns: A New Coupling Framework

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Climate, Volume 7 (2019)


Strong cold surge events (CSEs) are some of the most distinct winter weather events in East Asia, impacting natural ecosystems and over 100 million individuals. The impact of such extreme CSEs as driven by synoptic systems is direct and immediate. Changes in large-scale synoptic patterns as potentially affected by changes in the Arctic are further expected to influence CSE occurrences in East Asia. Defying a straightforward analysis, semi-permanent atmospheric systems such as the Siberian High (SH), influencing large-scale synoptic patterns, make the atmospheric circulation highly variable and assessment of CSE onset difficult. Rather varied region-specific metrics are currently adopted for predicting CSE occurrence locally but the fundamental understanding of the onset of CSEs continues to be a major challenge. Based on an analysis of monthly synoptic patterns for three unusual CSEs in East Asia and further extended for eight strong to extreme CSEs, we propose a new coupling framework for an improved understanding and interpretation of the atmosphere dynamics driving CSE onset. The coupling framework involves linkages between the Siberian High, Aleutian Low, and Jet Stream. We also present the first meteorological scale for categorizing the intensity of such unusual CSEs.