University of Oulu

ChristianRixen, Toke ThomasHøye, PetrMacek, RienAerts, Juha M.Alatalo, Jill T.Anderson, Pieter A.Arnold, Isabel CBarrio, Jarle W.Bjerke, Mats P.Björkman, DaanBlok, GescheBlume-Werry, JuliaBoike, StefBokhorst, MicheleCarbognani, Casper T.Christiansen, PeterConvey, Elisabeth J.Cooper, J. Hans C.Cornelissen, Stephen J.Coulson, EllenDorrepaal, BoElberling, Sarah C.Elmendorf, CassandraElphinstone, T’ai G.W.Forte, Esther R.Frei, Sonya R.Geange, FriederikeGehrmann, CaseyGibson, PaulGrogan, Aud HelenHalbritter, JohnHarte, Gregory H.R.Henry, David W.Inouye, Rebecca E.Irwin, GusJespersen, Ingibjörg SvalaJónsdóttir, Ji YoungJung, David H.Klinges, GakuKudo, JuhoLämsä, HannaLee, Jonas J.Lembrechts, SigneLett, Joshua ScottLynn, Hjalte M.R.Mann, MikhailMastepanov, JenniferMorse, Isla H.Myers-Smith, JohanOlofsson, RikuPaavola, AlessandroPetraglia, Gareth K.Phoenix, PhilippSemenchuk, Matthias B.Siewert, RachelSlatyer, Marko J.Spasojevic, KatharineSuding, PatrickSullivan, Kimberly L.Thompson, MariaVäisänen, VigdisVandvik, SusannaVenn, JosefineWalz, RobertWay, Jeffrey M.Welker, SonjaWipf, and ShengweiZong. Winters are changing: snow effects on Arctic and alpine tundra ecosystems. Arctic Science. 8(3): 572-608.

Winters are changing : snow effects on Arctic and alpine tundra ecosystems

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Author: Rixen, Christian1,2; Høye, Toke Thomas3; Macek, Petr4;
Organizations: 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Flüelastr. 11, Davos Dorf, 7260, Switzerland
2Climate Change, Extremes and Natural Hazards in Alpine Regions Research Centre CERC, Davos Dorf, Switzerland
3Department of Ecoscience and Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, C.F. Møllers Allé 4-8, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark
4Institute of Hydrobiology, Biology Centre of Czech Academy of Sciences, Na Sadkach 7, 370 05, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
5Department of Ecological Science, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
6Environmental Science Center, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
7Genetics Department, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7223, USA
8Division of Ecology and Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
9Faculty of Environmental and Forest Sciences, Agricultural University of Iceland, Árleyni 22, 112, Reykjavík, Iceland
10Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, FRAM – High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, Tromsø, Norway
11Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, SE-405 30, Gothenburg, Sweden
12Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, SE-405 30, Gothenburg, Sweden
13Dutch Research Council (NWO), The Hague, The Netherlands
14Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstraße 15, Greifswald, 17487, Germany
15Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A45, Potsdam, 14473, Germany
16Geography Department, Humboldt University of Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, Berlin, 10099, Germany
17Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/A, I-43124, Parma, Italy
18Terrestrial Ecology Section, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
19British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
20Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø N-9037, Norway
21Department of Arctic Biology, University Centre in Svalbard, P.O. Box 156, Longyearbyen, Svalbard 9171, Norway
22Climate Impacts Research Centre, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Abisko, Sweden
23Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
24Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder. CO 80309-0450, USA
25Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
26Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
27Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zuercherstrasse 111, Birmensdorf, 8903, Switzerland
28Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
29School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences UNSW, Sidney, Australia
30Department of Biology, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
31Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
32Energy and Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
33Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Crested Butte, CO 81224, USA
34Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
35Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
36Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
37Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, 102, Reykjavík, Iceland
38Korea Polar Reseach Institute, Incheon, 21990, Republic of Korea
39School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
40Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan
41Oulanka Research Station, University of Oulu, Liikasenvaarantie 134, Kuusamo, 93900, Finland
42NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjekrnes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
43Research Group Plants and Ecosystems, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk, 2610, Belgium
44Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, Roskilde, 4000, Denmark
45Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
46School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3FF, UK
47Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, SE-901 87, Sweden
48Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
49Division of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology and Landscape Ecology, Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, Rennweg 14, 1030, Vienna
50Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
51Environment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
52Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
53Ecology and Genetics Rresearch Unit, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran street 1, Linnanmaa, Oulu 90014, Finland
54Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia
55Northern Environmental Geoscience Laboratory, Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
56University of the Arctic (UArctic), Rovaniemi 96101, Finland
57Swiss National Park, Chasté Planta-Wildenberg, Runatsch, 7530, Zernez
58Key Laboratory of Geographical Processes and Ecological Security in Changbai Mountains, Ministry of Education, School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, 130024, China
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Canadian Science Publishing, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-03


Snow is an important driver of ecosystem processes in cold biomes. Snow accumulation determines ground temperature, light conditions, and moisture availability during winter. It also affects the growing season’s start and end, and plant access to moisture and nutrients. Here, we review the current knowledge of the snow cover’s role for vegetation, plant-animal interactions, permafrost conditions, microbial processes, and biogeochemical cycling. We also compare studies of natural snow gradients with snow experimental manipulation studies to assess time scale difference of these approaches. The number of tundra snow studies has increased considerably in recent years, yet we still lack a comprehensive overview of how altered snow conditions will affect these ecosystems. Specifically, we found a mismatch in the timing of snowmelt when comparing studies of natural snow gradients with snow manipulations. We found that snowmelt timing achieved by snow addition and snow removal manipulations (average 7.9 days advance and 5.5 days delay, respectively) were substantially lower than the temporal variation over natural spatial gradients within a given year (mean range 56 days) or among years (mean range 32 days). Differences between snow study approaches need to be accounted for when projecting snow dynamics and their impact on ecosystems in future climates.

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Series: Arctic science
ISSN: 2368-7460
ISSN-E: 2368-7460
ISSN-L: 2368-7460
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
Pages: 572 - 608
DOI: 10.1139/as-2020-0058
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work and the extensive data collection was supported by numerous institutions and funding agencies namely: EU H2020 CHARTER project; NSF award numbers 1836873 1504141, 1433063, 0119279, 0856728, 0632184, 9617643, 9321730, DEB-1912006, DEB-1354104, OPP-1504538, DEB-1354104; the Czech Science Foundation 17-20839S; the Norwegian Research Council (“SnoEco” project, number 230970, and grants 171542, 225006, NORKLIMA 184912 and KLIMAFORSK 244525), the FRAM Centre Terrestrial Framework (project: “Summer’s End”); the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) High North Programme (“JANATEX” project, number HNP2013/10092); the UiT-The Arctic University of Norway; the BECC - Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate; the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 657627; the Swedish Research Council FORMAS – future research leaders No. 2016-01187; the NSF-supported Niwot Ridge LTER program (NSF DEB – 1637686); Funding by the Research Foundation Flanders (project numbers OZ7828, OZ7916, OZ8323 and OZ7792); Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, ArcticNet, Canadian International Year Program, Northern Science Training Program (Polar Knowledge Canada), Polar Continental Shelf Program, and logistical support from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the Nunavut Department of Environment and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association; the Danish National Research Foundation (CENPERM DNRF100); the Doctoral Programme in Plant Science (University of Helsinki); the Finnish Society of Forest Sciences; Nordenskiöld-samfundet; Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica and Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse to FG; the Academy of Finland, University of Oulu; the National Research Foundation of Korea [NRF-2021M1A5A1075508, PN22012]; the Center för Miljöforskning and Kempe Foundation; NERC core funding to BAS; the Swiss National Science Foundation; the Netherlands Polar Programme; Qatar Petroleum; Kempestiftelserna Ref.No JCK-1822; the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award DE140101611.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.