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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-25
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
The sensitivity of snowfall to weather states over Sweden
Lars Norin1, Abhay Devasthale1, and Tristan S. L'Ecuyer2 1Atmospheric Remote Sensing Unit, Research Department, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden
2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Abstract. For a high latitude country like Sweden snowfall is an important contributor to the regional water cycle. Furthermore, snowfall impacts surface properties, affects atmospheric thermodynamics, has implications for traffic and logistics management, disaster preparedness, and also impacts climate through changes in surface albedo and turbulent heat fluxes. For Sweden it has been shown that large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns, or weather states, are important for precipitation variability. Although the link between atmospheric circulation patterns and precipitation has been investigated for rainfall there are no studied focused on the sensitivity of snowfall to weather states over Sweden.

In this work we investigate the response of snowfall to eight selected weather states. These weather states consist of four dominant wind directions together with cyclonic and anti-cyclonic circulation patterns and enhanced positive and negative phases of the North Atlantic oscillation. The presented analysis is based on multiple data sources, such as ground-based radar measurements, satellite observations, spatially-interpolated in situ observations, and reanalysis data. The data from these sources converge to underline the sensitivity of falling snow over Sweden to the different weather states.

In this paper we examine both average snowfall intensities and snowfall accumulations associated with the different weather states. It is shown that even though the heaviest snowfall intensities occur during conditions with winds from the southwest, the largest contribution to snowfall accumulation arrives from winds from the southeast. Large differences in snowfall due to variations in the North Atlantic oscillation are shown as well as a strong effect of cyclonic and anti-cyclonic circulation patterns. Satellite observations are used to reveal the vertical structures of snowfall during the different weather states.


Citation: Norin, L., Devasthale, A., and L'Ecuyer, T. S.: The sensitivity of snowfall to weather states over Sweden, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-25, in review, 2017.
Lars Norin et al.
Lars Norin et al.
Lars Norin et al.

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Short summary
For a high latitude country like Sweden snowfall is an important contributor to the regional water cycle. For Sweden, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns, or weather states, are important for precipitation variability. In this work we investigate the sensitivity of snowfall to weather states over Sweden to eight selected weather states. The analysis is based on measurements from ground-based radar, satellite observations, spatially-interpolated in situ observations, and reanalysis data.
For a high latitude country like Sweden snowfall is an important contributor to the regional...
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