Northern Hemisphere Mid-Latitude Snow Extent Variability During the Satellite Era

Authors: David A Robinson*, Rutgers University
Topics: Cryosphere, Climatology and Meteorology, Remote Sensing
Keywords: snow cover extent, mid-latitudes, cryosphere, climate
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The extent of snow cover (SCE) over Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude lands varies considerably both intra and inter annually. Along with the general equatorward and poleward shifts in fall and spring, marked ephemeral fluctuations in SCE within a given snow season are associated with variations in atmospheric circulation and resultant changes in storm tracks and temperature. Over the longer term, SCE changes have occurred on decadal scales, with a particular shift to earlier spring snowmelt in recent decades. Continuous satellite mapping of SCE on weekly (1966-1999) and daily (1999-present) bases has permitted a hemisphere-wide evaluation of extent for over a half-century. This dataset is currently produced at the National Ice Center by trained analysts primarily using visible imagery. This presentation will use this lengthy climate data record to present a wide range of examples of mid-latitude SCE variability, along with relationships between extent and the other previously mentioned climate variables. Included will be broad continental zonal analyses along with some new regional studies using the higher spatial resolution maps, now available for the past 20 years. Focus will be on the middle latitudes, where SCE fluctuations mainly occur during the majority of the hemispheric snow season.

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