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Linkages Between Snow and Ice Phenology in the High Arctic from 1997 – 2017

Authors: Alicia Dauginis*, University of Toronto - Mississauga, Laura Brown, University of Toronto Mississauga
Topics: Cryosphere, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Cryosphere, Sea Ice, Snow, Remote Sensing
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Records of snow and ice phenology are useful indicators of local and regional climate variability and change. Algorithms applied to microwave measurements are able to estimate phenology parameters; however, microwave datasets often rely on a single sensor and therefore suffer from wavelength specific uncertainties. Some of these uncertainties can be mitigated through the application of the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS) for estimating phenology parameters, as IMS utilizes a variety of multi-sourced datasets. Here, we examine sea ice and snow phenology in the Canadian High Arctic from 1997 - 2017 using the 24 km and 4 km IMS products to maximize spatial and temporal resolutions. Significant trends towards later open water (8.3 d decade-1) and earlier freeze-onset (-5.2 d decade-1) suggest that ice cover duration in this region is increasing, while earlier snow-off trends (-6.8 d decade-1) indicate reductions in snow cover duration. Regionally, earlier open water and snow-off dates were identified in the Western Arctic Waterway and on Banks and Victoria Islands. Earlier snow-on and freeze-onset were identified in the Queen Elizabeth Islands and western Parry Channel. Less interannual variability was apparent during the freeze season, as freeze is largely governed by cooling atmospheric temperatures; whereas during the melt season, the amount of total absorbed solar energy and snow-ice-albedo feedbacks strongly influence the timing of melt. Identifying changes in snow and ice conditions utilizing finer-scale satellite observations will contribute to improved snow and ice forecasting, climate monitoring, and understanding climate variability and change in high-latitude regions.

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