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Blowing-Snow Enhanced Surface-Air Interactions in Extreme Weather Events from the Arctic to Midlatitudes

Presentation Date
Friday, December 15, 2023 at 8:30am - Friday, December 15, 2023 at 12:50pm
MC - Poster Hall A-C - South



The occurrence of extreme winter weather events has ostensibly increased in both the Arctic and midlatitudes. These events often bring snowfall and strong winds to the impacted area. Blowing snow occurs when surface snow is uplifted and transported horizontally by the strong winds. Drifted snow may complicate the surface–air interactions and feedback to further strengthen the extreme event, particularly over some specific heterogeneous surfaces such as Arctic sea ice/polynya or a midlatitude urban/lake area. To better understand and compare the blowing snow effects on the surface-air interactions in the Arctic and midlatitudes, we apply a snow/ice-enhanced version of the Weather Research and Forecasting model to conduct simulations on two extreme weather events. The first event occurred in the Arctic during February 22-26, 2018, when extremely strong surface winds (>25 m/s) and an unprecedented polynya off the north coast of Greenland developed due to a synergistic effect of an intense cyclone centered to the north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and a strong anticyclone northeast/east of Iceland. The second event is a winter blizzard in the Great Lakes area during December 22-25, 2022. The blizzard brought strong winds (>20 m/s), a 40-year record cold temperatures, and snowfall to the area, resulting in white-out conditions by the blowing snow. The modeling results reveal significant thermodynamic effects of blowing snow sublimation, which can be further enhanced by the presence of an Arctic polynya or a midlatitude urban environment. Moreover, the blowing snow sublimation effect also contributes to a continuing development of the polynya in the Arctic and a stronger lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes area.

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