Deep Snow Cover in the Arctic Region Intensifies Heat Waves in Eurasia


Variations in the depth of snow cover in the Arctic region from late winter to spring determines the summer temperature pattern in Eurasia, according to Hokkaido University researchers.

In particular, deeper-than-usual snow cover in Western Russia enhanced the likelihood of summer heat waves in Europe and Northeast Asia in recent years.

Persistent abnormally hot weather can cause negative impacts on human health, agriculture, and natural environments. A heat wave — a spell of hot days with the mercury rising much higher than the average temperature — has been reported more frequently in Europe and Northeast Asia in recent years.

“Internal atmosphere–land interactions in Eurasia are believed to be an important factor in triggering abnormal summer temperatures. However, the exact reasons for such interactions causing heat waves remain largely unclear,” says Associate Professor Tomonori Sato of the research team.

In the present study published in Scientific Reports, Tomonori Sato and Tetsu Nakamura of Hokkaido University examined a large dataset derived from the “database for Policy Decision making for Future climate change” (d4PDF). The database comprises data spanning over a 60-year period (1951–2010) which incorporates observed sea surface temperature, sea ice, and natural and anthropogenic forcing.

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