Multi-Decadal Changes in Snow Characteristics in Sub-Arctic Sweden
- 181 Downloads
A unique long term, 49-year record (divided into three time periods 1961–1976, 1977–1992, and 1993–2009) of snow profile stratigraphy from the Swedish sub Arctic, was analyzed with a focus on changes in snow characteristics. The data set contained grain size, snow layer hardness, grain compactness, and snow layer dryness, observed every second week during the winter season. The results showed an increase in very hard snow layers, with harder snow in early winter and more moist snow during spring. There was a striking increase in the number of observations with very hard snow at ground level over time. More than twice as many occasions with hard snow at ground level were observed between 1993 and 2009 compared to previous years, which may have a significant effect on plants and animals. The changes in snow characteristics are most likely a result of the increasing temperatures during the start and the end of the snow season.
KeywordsSnowpack stratigraphy Snow profile Climate change Snow layer hardness Ice layers
We thank the observers at the Abisko Station for their dedication to collecting the data used in this study—often over many years and under difficult field conditions. We also thank Johan Wiksten for digitizing the data and Hans Bergström for valuable discussions. The rescue of old data archives is part of the IPY project No 512 Back to the Future supported by a Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) grant (214-2008-188) and the Swedish National Space Board (70/07:1, 70/07:2, 116/09:1, 116/09:2). TVC also gratefully acknowledges Formas for the grants 214-2008-188 and 214-2009-389.
- ACIA. 2005. Arctic climate impact assessment. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Andrews, C., J. Dick, C. Jonasson, and T.V. Callaghan. 2011. Assessment of biological and environmental phenology at a landscape level from 30 years of fixed date repeat photography in Northern Sweden. Ambio. doi:10.1007/s13280-011-0167-z.
- Arft, A.M., M.D. Walker, J. Gurevitch, J.M. Alatalo, M.S. Bret-Harte, M. Dale, M. Diemer, F. Gugerli, et al. 1999. Responses of tundra plants to experimental warming: Meta-analysis of the international tundra experiment. Ecological Monographs 69: 491–511.Google Scholar
- Baddour, O., and H. Kontongomde. 2007. The role of climatological normals in a changing climate. The World Climate Data and Monitoring Programme (WCDMP), WCDMP-No. 61. WMO-TD No. 1377. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization.Google Scholar
- Barry, R.G., R. Armstrong, T.V. Callaghan, J. Cherry, S. Gearheard, A. Nolin, D. Russell, and C. Zöckler. 2007. Snow. In Global outlook for snow and ice, ed. UNEP, 39–62. Arendal: UNEP/GRID.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 34: L14705. doi: 10.1029/2009GL042064.
- Callaghan, T.V., L.O. Björn, Y. Chernov, F.S. Chapin, T.R. Christensen, B. Huntley, R. Ims, S. Jonasson, D. Jolly, et al. 2005. Tundra and polar desert ecosystems. In ACIA (Arctic climate impacts assessment), ed. C. Symon, L. Arris, and B. Heal, 243–352. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Colbeck, S., E. Akitaya, R. Armstrong, H. Gubler, J. Lafeuille, K. Lied, D. McClung, and E. Morris, E. 1990. The international classification for seasonal snow on the ground. The International Commission on Snow and Ice of the International Association of Scientific Hydrology.Google Scholar
- Euskirchen, E.S., A.D. McGuire, D.W. Kicklighter, Q. Zhuang, J.S. Clein, R.J. Dargaville, D.G. Dye, J.S. Kimball, et al. 2006. Importance of recent shifts in soil thermal dynamics on growing season length, productivity, and carbon sequestration in terrestrial high-latitude ecosystems. Global Change Biology 12: 731–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fierz, C., R.R.L. Armstrong, Y. Durand, P. Etchevers, E. Greene, D.M. McClung, K. Nishimura, P.K. Satyawali, and S.A. Sokratov. 2009. The international classification for seasonal snow on the ground. IHP-VII technical documents in hydrology No. 83, IACS contribution No. 1. Paris: UNESCO-IHP.Google Scholar
- Heggberget, T.M., E. Gaare, and J.P. Ball. 2002. Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and climate change: Importance of winter forage. Rangifer 22(1): 13–31.Google Scholar
- Ingvander, S., C. Johansson, P. Jansson, and R. Pettersson. 2011. Comparison between digital and manual methods of snow particle size estimation. Hydrology Research (accepted).Google Scholar
- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2007. Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Larsson, M. 2004. Can effects from global warming be seen in Swedish snow statistics? Examensarbete vid institutionen för geovetenskaper 90. http://www.geo.uu.se/luva/exarb/2004/Mattias_Larsson.pdf.
- Riseth, J.Å., H. Tømmervik, E. Helander-Renvall, N. Labba, C. Johansson, E. Malnes, J.W. Bjerke, C. Jonasson, et al. 2010. Sámi traditional ecological knowledge as a guide to science: snow, ice and reindeer pasture facing climate change. Polar Record. 47: 202–217. doi: 10.1017/S0032247410000434.Google Scholar
- Stieglitz, M., S.J. Dery, V.E. Romanovsky, and T.E. Osterkamp. 2003. The role of snow cover in the warming of arctic permafrost. Geophysical Research Letters. 30:1721. doi: 10.1029/2003GL017337.
- Vikhamar-Schuler, D., I. Hanssen-Bauer, and E.J. Førland. 2010. Long-term climate trends of Finnmarksvidda, Northern-Norway. Report no. 6. Oslo: Norwegian Meteorological Institute.Google Scholar
- Walker, M.D., C.H. Wahren, R.D. Hollister, G.H.R. Henry, L.E. Ahlquist, J.M. Alatalo, M.S. Bret-Harteh, M.P. Calefh, et al. 2006. Plant community responses to experimental warming across the tundra biome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103: 1342–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar