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Effect of western U.S. snow cover on climate

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The purpose of this study is to identify, characterize and quantify local, regional and remote effects of snow cover on western U.S. climate and water resources. An ensemble of predictability and sensitivity studies was made with the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model, version 3 (CCM3) to investigate the relative roles of snow-cover anomalies and initial atmospheric states in the subsequent accumulation and ablation seasons. The suite of model experiments focuses on the direct effect of snow on regional climate anomalies and ultimately will be used to examine the lagged effect of anomalous snow cover on the climate. The set of ensemble simulations presented here looks at the climate-system response to anomalously high and low snow cover at the start of the ablation season over the western U.S.A. These current results suggest that the initial state of snow cover is more important than the initial state of the atmosphere or of sea-surface temperatures because of direct thermal effects on the surface and subsequent indirect, dynamical effects on the atmospheric circulation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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