Worldwide Decline in Snow Accumulation and Duration

Environmental Research Letters, October 14
Snow cover and duration has declined worldwide over the past three decades due to the rise in global mean temperature.  Snowpack in the mid-latitudes and at lower altitudes — especially in the southern and south-eastern parts of the Himalayas; Iberian Peninsula; southern Andes; Drakensberg Range in South Africa; New Zealand; and the Eastern Highlands of Australia  — is more sensitive to warming than those in higher altitudes or latitudes. The water cycles in these mountain ranges likely become less dependent on snowpack as temperatures rise, although in this study no clear relationship could be established between snowpack changes and local declines in annual river runoff. These results highlight the importance of predicting the hydrological vulnerability of mountain ranges to climate change, as major economic activities and large populations depend on snow as a water resource.

Compiled by Amy Imdieke.

By Amy Imdieke, Global Outreach Director, and Pam Pearson, Director of ICCI.
Published Oct. 23, 2020      Updated Jul. 12, 2022 3:22 pm