Geophisical Research Letters Article

How quickly has snow melted as the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere has warmed? Surprisingly, not all of our historical records of snow cover give the same answer. A new CanSISE publication titled 'Snow cover response to temperature in observational and climate model ensembles' is now available in Geophysical Research Letters (links below).

Several different data sets of observed surface temperature and snow cover are used  to determine the sensitivity of snow cover to increases in surface temperature. This observed sensitivity is compared to that from a wide range of climate models.  The sensitivity simulated by climate models is shown to be within the observational range across the Arctic, but is too weak (smaller snow reductions for a given temperature increase compared to observations) for midlatitude and alpine regions. The use of multiple observational datasets highlights an inconsistent and physically unrealistic snow cover response characterized by one of the most prominent and frequently used observational datasets, the NOAA snow cover climate record.


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-Lawrence Mudryk, CanSISE Collaborator

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