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Callaghan T.V.,Royal Swedish Academy Of Sciences | Johansson M.,Lund University | Brown R.D.,Ouranos | Groisman P.Ya.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 27 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2011

Snow cover plays a major role in the climate, hydrological and ecological systems of the Arctic and other regions through its influence on the surface energy balance (e.g. reflectivity), water balance (e.g. water storage and release), thermal regimes (e.g. insulation), vegetation and trace gas fluxes. Feedbacks to the climate system have global consequences. The livelihoods and well-being of Arctic residents and many services for the wider population depend on snow conditions so changes have important consequences. Already, changing snow conditions, particularly reduced summer soil moisture, winter thaw events and rain-on-snow conditions have negatively affected commercial forestry, reindeer herding, some wild animal populations and vegetation. Reductions in snow cover are also adversely impacting indigenous peoples' access to traditional foods with negative impacts on human health and well-being. However, there are likely to be some benefits from a changing Arctic snow regime such as more even run-off from melting snow that favours hydropower operations. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012.


Callaghan T.V.,Royal Swedish Academy Of Sciences | Johansson M.,Lund University | Brown R.D.,Environment Canada | Groisman P.Y.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 17 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2011

Analysis of in situ and satellite data shows evidence of different regional snow cover responses to the widespread warming and increasing winter precipitation that has characterized the Arctic climate for the past 40-50 years. The largest and most rapid decreases in snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow cover duration (SCD) are observed over maritime regions of the Arctic with the highest precipitation amounts. There is also evidence of marked differences in the response of snow cover between the North American and Eurasian sectors of the Arctic, with the North American sector exhibiting decreases in snow cover and snow depth over the entire period of available in situ observations from around 1950, while widespread decreases in snow cover are not apparent over Eurasia until after around 1980. However, snow depths are increasing in many regions of Eurasia. Warming and more frequent winter thaws are contributing to changes in snow pack structure with important implications for land use and provision of ecosystem services. Projected changes in snow cover from Global Climate Models for the 2050 period indicate increases in maximum SWE of up to 15% over much of the Arctic, with the largest increases (15-30%) over the Siberian sector. In contrast, SCD is projected to decrease by about 10-20% over much of the Arctic, with the smallest decreases over Siberia (\10%) and the largest decreases over Alaska and northern Scandinavia (30-40%) by 2050. These projected changes will have far-reaching consequences for the climate system, human activities, hydrology, and ecology. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012.


Zhuravskiy D.,AARI | Ivanov B.,AARI | Pavlov A.,AARI
Polar Geography | Year: 2012

This article presents analysis of ice condition variability in Gronfjorden Bay, Svalbard, from 1974 to 2008. A dataset was created containing 18 fast-ice charac ristics for Gronfjordn Bay. Thedata of theiceconditions and main oceanographic and meteorological characteristics are analyzed. The analysis confirms thetndncy toward a lss harsh climateduring thelast quartr of the twentieth and the beginning of twenty-first centuries in the area of Gronfjorden Bay. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.


News Article | November 7, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Why Are Thousands of Snowballs Popping Up on a Siberian Beach? Preparing for an epic snowball fight this winter? The best place to stock up on ammo may be a beach in Siberia, where thousands of huge, perfectly round snowballs are piling up, according to news reports. But where are these frozen orbs coming from? Villagers near the Gulf of Ob in Siberia discovered the snowballs along an 11-mile (18 kilometers) stretch of the beach, reported the Siberian Times. The snowballs range from the size of a tennis ball (about 2.7 inches, 6.86 centimeters) to almost 3 feet (1 meter) across. Though they look strange, the orbs are naturally occurring, experts say. [Images: One-of-a-Kind Places on Earth] "It's a rare natural phenomenon," Sergey Lisenkov, a spokesperson for the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), told the Siberian Times. "As a rule, grease ice forms first, slush. And then a combination of the action of the wind, the outlines of the coastline, and the temperature may lead to the formation of such balls." According to news reports, the snowballs first formed in late October, after water in the Gulf of Ob rose and covered the beach in ice. Just as kids roll snowballs along a snow-covered surface to create bigger spherical creations, ice on the beach rolled along the sand as the tides receded, creating the frozen orbs. Area residents said the phenomenon was a surprise, and had not happened previously. "Even old-timers say they see this phenomenon for the first time," Valery Akulov, from the village administration, told the Siberian Times. A similar phenomenon has occurred along Lake Michigan, where boulder-size ice balls can form in winter months. When chunks of the ice sheets that cover parts of the lake in winter break off, they churn in the waves and become ice spheres. Snow rollers are another form of naturally occurring snowballs that can invade during winter months. Snow rollers occur only in the right conditions: a combination of light, sticky snow; strong (but not too strong) winds; and cold temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. When snow-covered landscapes are blasted by blustery winds, the snow can be sculpted into doughnuts, hollow tubes and snowballs.

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