University of Oulu

Bokhorst, S., Pedersen, S.H., Brucker, L. et al. Ambio (2016) 45: 516. doi:10.1007/s13280-016-0770-0

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

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Author: Bokhorst, Stef1; Højlund Pedersen, Stine2; Brucker, Ludovic3;
Organizations: 1FRAM – High North Research Centre on Climate and the Environment, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), PO Box 6606, Langnes 9296, Tromsø, Norway
2Department of Bioscience, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
3NASA GSFC Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, Code 615, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
4International Centre for Science and Education ‘‘Best’’, North-East Federal University, Yakutsk, Russia
5Climate Research Division, Environment Canada Ouranos, 550 Sherbrooke St. West, 19th Floor, Montreal, QC H3A 1B9, Canada
6Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
7School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
8Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
9Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
10Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden
11Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
12Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, PO Box 50005, 104 05 Stockholm, Sweden
13Faculty of Life- and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
14Leavas Sámi Community, Box 53, 981 21 Kiruna, Sweden
15Arctic Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
16FAC-CNR - Institute of Applied Physics ‘‘Nello Carrara’’, National Research Council, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, FI, Italy
17National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment Canada, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa K1A 0H3, Canada
18Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), 360 Albert Street, Suite 1710, Ottawa, ON K1R 7X7, Canada
19Snow and Ice Research Center, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, 187-16 Suyoshi, Nagaoka, Niigata 940-0821, Japan
20Thule Insitute, University of Oulu, PO Box 7300, 90014 Oulu, Finland
21WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Flüelastrasse 11, 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
22Science Center for Arctic Studies, State Organization of Yamal- Nenets Autonomous District, Salekhard, Russia
23Arctic Environment Laboratory, Faculty of Geography, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie gory 1, Moscow, Russia 119991
24Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council (ISAC-CNR), Corso Fiume 4, 10133 Turin, Italy
25Division for Model and Climate Analysis, R&D Department, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Postboks 43, Blindern, 0313 Oslo, Norway
26Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, CW 405, Biological Sciences Bldg., Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada
27Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academic of Science, Beijing 100094, China
28Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
29National Research Tomsk Stated University, 36, Lenin Ave., Tomsk, Russia 634050
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2016
Publish Date: 2017-07-05


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.

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Series: Ambio. A journal of the human environment
ISSN: 0044-7447
ISSN-E: 1654-7209
ISSN-L: 0044-7447
Volume: 45
Issue: 5
Pages: 516 - 537
DOI: 10.1007/s13280-016-0770-0
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: The writing of this paper was initiated by an IASC ICARP III Activity grant to TVC enabling a workshop hosted by the European Environment Agency. The authors acknowledge funding from their respective national and international funding bodies, which has enabled the contribution of all authors to this work.
Dataset Reference: Electronic supplementary material
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2016 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.