Observed cold season changes in a Fennoscandian fell area over the past three decades
- 327 Downloads
We studied trends and variability in snow and climate characteristics in 1978–2012 in the Värriötunturit fell area, northern Finland. Cold season changes were examined using long-term observational data on snow depths, meteorological data, large-scale climate indices, and reindeer herders’ experiences with difficult snow conditions. Snow depths declined, and temperatures increased significantly over the study period, with the largest changes observed in October–December and in April. Snow depths decreased particularly in forests at lower altitudes but not in treeless areas at higher altitudes. Interannual variability (but not the trends) in snow depths could be partially linked to large-scale climate indices. A majority of difficult reindeer grazing conditions were related to deep snow in the winter or spring. Our observations suggest that shortened duration of snow cover may facilitate reindeer grazing, whereas potentially more frequent formation of ice layers and mold growth on pastures in the future is disadvantageous for reindeer husbandry.
KeywordsClimate change Northern Finland Reindeer husbandry Snow Subarctic Teleconnection
We thank the Värriö Subarctic Research Station, particularly Vesa Haataja for his kind help with providing the snow transect measurement data for this study. The Finnish Meteorological Institute provided climatological data. Anne Ollila and Sirpa Valkama at the Reindeer Herders’ Association helped us collect the local information on snow and foraging conditions for reindeer, which we warmly acknowledge. We thank four anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. SK was funded by the Academy of Finland (CLADINA; Project Number 128615) and the APRES sub-project of the Nordic Centre of Excellence Tundra. SR was funded by Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
- AMAP. 2012. Arctic Climate Issues 2011: Changes in Arctic Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost. SWIPA 2011. Overview Report.Google Scholar
- Bokhorst, S.F., J.W. Bjerke, F.W. Bowles, J. Mellillo, T.V. Callaghan, and G.K. Phoenix. 2008. Impacts of extreme winter warming in the sub-Arctic: Growing season responses of dwarf-shrub heath land. Global Change Biology 14: 2603–2612.Google Scholar
- Callaghan, T.V., F. Bergholm, T.R. Christensen, C. Jonasson, U. Kokfelt, and M. Johansson. 2010. A new climate era in the sub‐Arctic: Accelerating climate changes and multiple impacts. Geophysical Research Letters 37. DOI: 10.1029/2009GL042064.
- IPCC. 2013. Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1535 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Härkönen, E., P. Itkonen, P. Paalamo, P. Rautiainen, T. Reinvuo, and J. Satta. 2012. Värriön luonnonpuiston, Tuntsan erämaan ja Peurahaaran hoito-ja käyttösuunnitelma 2010–2025 (The management and land use plan for the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve, the Tuntsa Wilderness Area and Peurahaara for 2010–2025). Metsähallituksen luonnonsuojelujulkaisuja C 116, Metsähallitus, Vantaa (in Finnish).Google Scholar
- Panagiotopoulos, F., M. Shahgedanova, and D.B. Stephenson. 2002. A review of Northern Hemisphere winter-time teleconnection patterns. Journal de Physique 12: 27–47.Google Scholar
- Pirinen, P., H. Simola, J. Aalto, J.-P. Kaukoranta, P. Karlsson, and R. Ruuhela. 2012. Climatological statistics of Finland 1981–2010. Reports 2012:1, Helsinki.Google Scholar
- Riseth J.Å., H. Tommervik, E. Helander-Renvall, N. Labba, C. Johansson, E. Malnes, J.W. Bjerke, C. Jonsson, et al. 2010. Sami traditional ecological knowledge as a guide to science: Snow, ice and reindeer pasture facing climate change. Polar Record. DOI: 10.1017/S0032247410000434.
- Tyler, N., J. Turi, M. Sundset, K. Strøm Bull, M. Sara, E. Reinert, N. Oskal, C. Nellemann, et al. 2007. Saami reindeer pastoralism under climate change: Applying a generalized framework for vulnerability studies to a sub-arctic social–ecological system. Global Environmental Change 17: 191–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar