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Multi-decadal climate and seasonal snow conditions in Svalbard
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. Norwegian Polar Res Inst, Framctr, Tromso, Norway. (Ice and Climate)
Norwegian Polar Res Inst, Framctr, Tromso, Norway.
Colorado State Univ, Cooperat Inst Res Atmosphere, Ft Collins, CO 80523 USA.
Univ Oslo, Dept Geosci, Oslo, Norway.
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, ISSN 2169-9003, E-ISSN 2169-9011, Vol. 121, no 11, 2100-2117 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Svalbard climate is undergoing amplified change with respect to the global mean. Changing climate conditions directly affect the evolution of the seasonal snowpack, through its impact on accumulation, melt, and moisture exchange. We analyze long-term trends and spatial patterns of seasonal snow conditions in Svalbard between 1961 and 2012. Downscaled regional climate model output is used to drive a snow modeling system (SnowModel), with coupled modules simulating the surface energy balance and snowpack evolution. The precipitation forcing is calibrated and validated against snow depth data on a set of glaciers around Svalbard. Climate trends reveal seasonally inhomogeneous warming and a weakly positive precipitation trend, with strongest changes in the north. In response to autumn warming the date of snow onset increased (2days decade(-1)), whereas in spring/summer opposing effects cause a nonsignificant trend in the snow disappearance date. Maximum snow water equivalent (SWE) in winter/spring shows a modest increase (+0.01 meters water equivalent (mwe)decade(-1)), while the end-of-summer minimum snow area fraction declined strongly (from 48% to 36%). The equilibrium line altitude is highest in relatively dry inland regions, and time series show a clear positive trend (25mdecade(-1)) as a result of summer warming. Finally, rain-on-snow in the core winter season, affecting ground ice formation and limiting access of grazing animals to food supplies, peaks during specific years (1994, 1996, 2000, and 2012) and is found to be concentrated in the lower lying coastal regions in southwestern Svalbard.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 121, no 11, 2100-2117 p.
Keyword [en]
seasonal snow, modeling, climate, Svalbard
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-307251DOI: 10.1002/2016JF003999ISI: 000392825900008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-307251DiVA: diva2:1045966
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-11-11 Created: 2016-11-11 Last updated: 2017-03-02Bibliographically approved

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