Early and late extremes in the timing of snowmelt have recently been observed in the Pacific Arctic. Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts of this timing are important for industry, environmental management and Arctic communities. In northern Alaska, the timing is influenced by the advection of marine air from the north Pacific by the Aleutian Low, modulated by high pressure centered in the Beaufort Sea. A new climate index that integrates their interaction could advance melt predictions. We define this index based on 850 hPa geopotential height at four fixed locations referred to as the Aleutian Low –Beaufort Sea Anticyclone (ALBSA). During positive ALBSA in May, advection of +0.5-1.5 K/day is observed through the Bering Strait. ALBSA is correlated with both snowmelt in northern Alaska and the onset of sea ice melt over the adjacent seas. ALBSA, therefore, may be suitable for monitoring the relevant circulation patterns and for developing predictive tools.
|Title||The Aleutian Low – Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index for predicting the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere|
|Authors||Christopher J. Cox, Robert S. Stone, David C. Douglas, Diane Stanitski, Michael Gallagher|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB|