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Ambio. 2016 Sep;45(5):516-37. doi: 10.1007/s13280-016-0770-0. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Changing Arctic snow cover: A review of recent developments and assessment of future needs for observations, modelling, and impacts.

Author information

1
FRAM - High North Research Centre on Climate and the Environment, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), PO Box 6606, Langnes, 9296, Tromsø, Norway. stefbokhorst@hotmail.com.
2
Department of Ecological Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. stefbokhorst@hotmail.com.
3
Department of Bioscience, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000, Roskilde, Denmark.
4
NASA GSFC Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, Code 615, Greenbelt, MD, 20771, USA.
5
Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research Studies and Investigations, Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, 21044, USA.
6
State Hydrological Institute of Roshydromet, 23 Second Line V.O., St.Petersburg, Russia, 199053.
7
International Centre for Science and Education "Best", North-East Federal University, Yakutsk, Russia.
8
FRAM - High North Research Centre on Climate and the Environment, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), PO Box 6606, Langnes, 9296, Tromsø, Norway.
9
Climate Research Division, Environment Canada Ouranos, 550 Sherbrooke St. West, 19th Floor, Montreal, QC, H3A 1B9, Canada.
10
Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, University of Tromsø, 9037, Tromsø, Norway.
11
School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
12
Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.
13
Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden.
14
Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, 75236, Uppsala, Sweden.
15
Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62, Lund, Sweden.
16
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, PO Box 50005, 104 05, Stockholm, Sweden.
17
University Centre in Svalbard, PO Box 156, 9171, Longyearbyen, Norway.
18
Faculty of Life- and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, 101, Reykjavík, Iceland.
19
Leavas Sámi Community, Box 53, 981 21, Kiruna, Sweden.
20
Arctic Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101, Helsinki, Finland.
21
IFAC-CNR - Institute of Applied Physics "Nello Carrara", National Research Council, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino, FI, Italy.
22
National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment Canada, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, K1A 0H3, Canada.
23
Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), 360 Albert Street, Suite 1710, Ottawa, ON, K1R 7X7, Canada.
24
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bergen, 5020, Bergen, Norway.
25
Snow and Ice Research Center, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, 187-16 Suyoshi, Nagaoka, Niigata, 940-0821, Japan.
26
Thule Insitute, University of Oulu, PO Box 7300, 90014, Oulu, Finland.
27
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Flüelastrasse 11, 7260, Davos Dorf, Switzerland.
28
Arctic Research Station of Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Labytnangi, Russia, 629400.
29
Science Center for Arctic Studies, State Organization of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, Salekhard, Russia.
30
Arctic Environment Laboratory, Faculty of Geography, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie gory 1, Moscow, Russia, 119991.
31
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council (ISAC-CNR), Corso Fiume 4, 10133, Turin, Italy.
32
Division for Model and Climate Analysis, R&D Department, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Postboks 43, Blindern, 0313, Oslo, Norway.
33
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, CW 405, Biological Sciences Bldg., Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E9, Canada.
34
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academic of Science, Beijing, 100094, China.
35
Group on Earth Observations, Cold Regions Initiative, Geneva, Switzerland.
36
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK.
37
National Research Tomsk Stated University, 36, Lenin Ave., Tomsk, Russia, 634050.

Abstract

Snow is a critically important and rapidly changing feature of the Arctic. However, snow-cover and snowpack conditions change through time pose challenges for measuring and prediction of snow. Plausible scenarios of how Arctic snow cover will respond to changing Arctic climate are important for impact assessments and adaptation strategies. Although much progress has been made in understanding and predicting snow-cover changes and their multiple consequences, many uncertainties remain. In this paper, we review advances in snow monitoring and modelling, and the impact of snow changes on ecosystems and society in Arctic regions. Interdisciplinary activities are required to resolve the current limitations on measuring and modelling snow characteristics through the cold season and at different spatial scales to assure human well-being, economic stability, and improve the ability to predict manage and adapt to natural hazards in the Arctic region.

KEYWORDS:

Climate change; Ecosystem services; Human health; Indigenous; Snow; Societal costs

PMID:
26984258
PMCID:
PMC4980315
DOI:
10.1007/s13280-016-0770-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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