On the emergence of an Arctic amplification signal in terrestrial Arctic snow extent

Debjani Ghatak, Allan Frei, Gavin Gong, Julienne Stroeve, David Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The impact of declining sea ice in amplifying surface air temperatures (SAT) over the Arctic Ocean is readily visible, and this "Arctic amplification" will become more pronounced as more sea ice is lost in the coming decades. The effect of sea ice loss on atmospheric temperatures and circulation patterns is of utmost significance as these changes will affect the terrestrial climate. Land-surface snow is vulnerable to these changes; hence, we search for any link between changes in Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere snow cover. Analyses of observational data sets suggest that the increasing snow cover over Siberia during fall and early winter is correlated with the decreasing September Arctic sea ice over the Pacific sector. We also examine modeled covariance between sea ice and snow using historical and future simulations of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM3). Results indicate the emergence of a Siberian snow signal during the last half of the 21st century most strongly during late winter. Moreover, CCSM3 future simulations show diminishment of snow at a hemispheric scale outside of the Siberian region, which is correlated with the loss of Arctic sea ice. These results indicate that we may be seeing the first, albeit weak, signs of "Arctic amplification" on the terrestrial Arctic snowpack; that only a weak and therefore inconclusive signal would be expected at this time; and that the signal should strengthen over the coming decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD24105
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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