Influences of temperature and precipitation on historical and future snowpack variability over the Northern Hemisphere in the Second-Generation Canadian Earth System Model

Influences of temperature and precipitation on historical and future snowpack variability over... AbstractWe examine the changing roles of temperature and precipitation on snowpack variability in the Northern Hemisphere for Second-Generation Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2) historical (1850-2005) and future (2006-2100) climate simulations. We show that the strength of the linear relationship between monthly snow water equivalent (SWE) in January–April and precipitation (P) or temperature (T) predictors is a sigmoidal function of the mean temperature over the snow season up to the indicated month. For P-predictors, the strength of this relationship increases for colder snow seasons, whereas for T-predictors it increases for warmer snow seasons. These behaviours are largely explained by the daily temperature percentiles below freezing during the snow accumulation period. We find that there is a threshold temperature (-5±1°C, depending on month in the snow season and largely independent of emission scenario), representing a crossover point below which snow seasons are sufficiently cold that P is the primary driver of snowpack amount, and above which T is the primary driver. This isotherm allows us to delineate the snow-climate regions and elevation zones in which snow cover amounts are more vulnerable to a warming climate. As climate projections indicate that seasonal isotherms shift northward and toward higher elevations, regions where snowpack amount is mainly driven by precipitation recede, whereas temperature-sensitive snow covered areas extend to higher latitudes and/or elevations, with resulting impacts on ecosystems and society. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society

Influences of temperature and precipitation on historical and future snowpack variability over the Northern Hemisphere in the Second-Generation Canadian Earth System Model

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0442
eISSN
1520-0442
D.O.I.
10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0612.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractWe examine the changing roles of temperature and precipitation on snowpack variability in the Northern Hemisphere for Second-Generation Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2) historical (1850-2005) and future (2006-2100) climate simulations. We show that the strength of the linear relationship between monthly snow water equivalent (SWE) in January–April and precipitation (P) or temperature (T) predictors is a sigmoidal function of the mean temperature over the snow season up to the indicated month. For P-predictors, the strength of this relationship increases for colder snow seasons, whereas for T-predictors it increases for warmer snow seasons. These behaviours are largely explained by the daily temperature percentiles below freezing during the snow accumulation period. We find that there is a threshold temperature (-5±1°C, depending on month in the snow season and largely independent of emission scenario), representing a crossover point below which snow seasons are sufficiently cold that P is the primary driver of snowpack amount, and above which T is the primary driver. This isotherm allows us to delineate the snow-climate regions and elevation zones in which snow cover amounts are more vulnerable to a warming climate. As climate projections indicate that seasonal isotherms shift northward and toward higher elevations, regions where snowpack amount is mainly driven by precipitation recede, whereas temperature-sensitive snow covered areas extend to higher latitudes and/or elevations, with resulting impacts on ecosystems and society.

Journal

Journal of ClimateAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Mar 22, 2017

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