Linear trends of the length of snow-cover season in the Northern Hemisphere as observed by the satellites in the period 1972–2000
Abstract:The dataset of Northern Hemisphere EASE-Grid weekly snow cover and sea-ice extent (U. S. National Snow and Ice Data Center) for the period September 1972–August 2000 is analyzed to examine the possible influence of recent global warming on the seasonal change of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. It is found that the total snow-cover area in the 1980s and 1990s is diminished by 3 × 106 km2, and the length of snow-cover season is reduced by 2–3 weeks, as compared with the 1970s. In general, the contribution from earlier snowmelt is greater than that from delayed snow accumulation. In addition, the maximum snow-cover area during January–February has gradually decreased by about 3 × 106 km2 within the two decades. Geographically, the rate of decrease of snow-cover duration is <0.1 week per year (wpy) in the high-latitude regions such as the Siberian Plains and Northwest Territories of Canada and >0.2 wpy in the high-elevation regions such as the Scandinavian Peninsula, Tibetan Plateau and Rocky Mountains. The earlier snowmelt in the high-elevation regions suggests that the snowfall amounts there are decreasing owing to global warming.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2004
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