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The Changing Face of Arctic Snow Cover: A Synthesis of Observed and Projected Changes

Callaghan, Terry V.; Johansson, Margareta LU ; Brown, Ross D.; Groisman, Pavel Ya; Labba, Niklas; Radionov, Vladimir; Barry, Roger G.; Bulygina, Olga N.; Essery, Richard L. H. and Frolov, D. M., et al. (2011) In Ambio 40. p.17-31
Abstract
Analysis of in situ and satellite data shows evidence of different regional snow cover responses to the widespread warming and increasing winter precipitation that has characterized the Arctic climate for the past 40-50 years. The largest and most rapid decreases in snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow cover duration (SCD) are observed over maritime regions of the Arctic with the highest precipitation amounts. There is also evidence of marked differences in the response of snow cover between the North American and Eurasian sectors of the Arctic, with the North American sector exhibiting decreases in snow cover and snow depth over the entire period of available in situ observations from around 1950, while widespread decreases in snow cover... (More)
Analysis of in situ and satellite data shows evidence of different regional snow cover responses to the widespread warming and increasing winter precipitation that has characterized the Arctic climate for the past 40-50 years. The largest and most rapid decreases in snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow cover duration (SCD) are observed over maritime regions of the Arctic with the highest precipitation amounts. There is also evidence of marked differences in the response of snow cover between the North American and Eurasian sectors of the Arctic, with the North American sector exhibiting decreases in snow cover and snow depth over the entire period of available in situ observations from around 1950, while widespread decreases in snow cover are not apparent over Eurasia until after around 1980. However, snow depths are increasing in many regions of Eurasia. Warming and more frequent winter thaws are contributing to changes in snow pack structure with important implications for land use and provision of ecosystem services. Projected changes in snow cover from Global Climate Models for the 2050 period indicate increases in maximum SWE of up to 15% over much of the Arctic, with the largest increases (15-30%) over the Siberian sector. In contrast, SCD is projected to decrease by about 10-20% over much of the Arctic, with the smallest decreases over Siberia (<10%) and the largest decreases over Alaska and northern Scandinavia (30-40%) by 2050. These projected changes will have far-reaching consequences for the climate system, human activities, hydrology, and ecology. (Less)
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publication status
published
subject
keywords
extent, Snow cover, Snow cover duration, Snow water equivalent, Snow depth
in
Ambio
volume
40
pages
17 - 31
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000305284800004
  • scopus:84892890182
ISSN
0044-7447
DOI
10.1007/s13280-011-0212-y
language
English
LU publication?
yes
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402d8894-8be1-46c0-a3c0-bce511f9183c (old id 2863397)
date added to LUP
2012-07-24 14:24:05
date last changed
2017-11-19 04:02:38
@article{402d8894-8be1-46c0-a3c0-bce511f9183c,
  abstract     = {Analysis of in situ and satellite data shows evidence of different regional snow cover responses to the widespread warming and increasing winter precipitation that has characterized the Arctic climate for the past 40-50 years. The largest and most rapid decreases in snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow cover duration (SCD) are observed over maritime regions of the Arctic with the highest precipitation amounts. There is also evidence of marked differences in the response of snow cover between the North American and Eurasian sectors of the Arctic, with the North American sector exhibiting decreases in snow cover and snow depth over the entire period of available in situ observations from around 1950, while widespread decreases in snow cover are not apparent over Eurasia until after around 1980. However, snow depths are increasing in many regions of Eurasia. Warming and more frequent winter thaws are contributing to changes in snow pack structure with important implications for land use and provision of ecosystem services. Projected changes in snow cover from Global Climate Models for the 2050 period indicate increases in maximum SWE of up to 15% over much of the Arctic, with the largest increases (15-30%) over the Siberian sector. In contrast, SCD is projected to decrease by about 10-20% over much of the Arctic, with the smallest decreases over Siberia (&lt;10%) and the largest decreases over Alaska and northern Scandinavia (30-40%) by 2050. These projected changes will have far-reaching consequences for the climate system, human activities, hydrology, and ecology.},
  author       = {Callaghan, Terry V. and Johansson, Margareta and Brown, Ross D. and Groisman, Pavel Ya and Labba, Niklas and Radionov, Vladimir and Barry, Roger G. and Bulygina, Olga N. and Essery, Richard L. H. and Frolov, D. M. and Golubev, Vladimir N. and Grenfell, Thomas C. and Petrushina, Marina N. and Razuvaev, Vyacheslav N. and Robinson, David A. and Romanov, Peter and Shindell, Drew and Shmakin, Andrey B. and Sokratov, Sergey A. and Warren, Stephen and Yang, Daquing},
  issn         = {0044-7447},
  keyword      = {extent,Snow cover,Snow cover duration,Snow water equivalent,Snow depth},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {17--31},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Ambio},
  title        = {The Changing Face of Arctic Snow Cover: A Synthesis of Observed and Projected Changes},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-011-0212-y},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2011},
}