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Keywords:

  • Arctic Oscillation;
  • cold surge;
  • surface air temperature

[1] Decadal changes in surface air temperature (SAT) variability and cold surge characteristics over Northeast Asia during late winter (January–March) are analyzed for the past three decades. Power spectrum analysis of SAT reveals that the low-frequency variabilities with a period longer than 10 days are significantly enhanced, while the high-frequency variabilities with a period shorter than 10 days are weakened in the 1980s and 2000s. Moreover, cold surges were stronger and lasted longer during the 1980s and 2000s compared to those that occurred in the 1990s. Here, we propose that large-scale atmospheric conditions manifested by a different phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) provide preconditioning for a cold surge event, which showed a prominent decadal fluctuation. The more (less) frequent strong and long-lasting cold surge occurrences in the 1980s and 2000s (1990s) are preceded by the more dominant negative (positive) phase of the AO. Lag-composite analyses for cold surge events categorized by the AO phases indicate that stronger and longer-lasting cold air advection dominates at the lower-level, when upper-level wave train and coastal trough are developed over East Asia under the strong negative AO phase. These results suggest that the decadal changes in SAT variability and cold surge characteristics are strongly associated with the decadal changes in the phase distribution of the AO.