Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2017-72
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Changes in Andes Mountains snow cover from MODIS data 2000–2014
Freddy A. Saavedra1,4, Stephanie K. Kampt2, Steven R. Fassnacht2, and Jason S. Sibold3 1Department of Geoscience, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1476, USA
2Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Co lorado State University
3Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University
4Centro de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad de Playa Ancha. Traslaviña 450, Viña del Mar, Chile
Abstract. The Andes Mountains span a length of 7,000 km and are important for sustaining regional water supplies. Snow variability across this region has not been studied in detail due to sparse and unevenly distributed instrumental climate data. We calculated snow persistence (SP) as the fraction of time with snow cover for each year between 2000–2014 from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite sensors (500 m, 8-day maximum snow cover extent) limited between 8 °S and 36 °S due high frequency of cloud (>30 % of the time) south and north of this range. We ran Mann-Kendall and Theil-Sens analyses to identify significant areas of change in SP and snow line (the line at lower elevation which SP=20%). We evaluated whether these trends in the context of temperature and precipitation (University of Delaware dataset) and climate indices (ENSO, SAM, PDO). North of 29 °S has limited snow cover, and few trends in snow persistence were detected. A large area (70,515 km2) with persistent snow cover between 29–36 °S experienced a significant loss of snow cover (2–5 fewer days of snow year−1). Snow loss was more pronounced (62 %) on the east side of the Andes. We also found a significant increase in the elevation of 10–30 m year−1 south of 29–30 °S. Decreasing SP correlates with decreasing precipitation, increasing temperature, and climate indices and it varies with latitude and elevation. ENSO indices better predicted SP conditions north of 31 °S, and the SAM better predicted SP south of 31 °S.

Citation: Saavedra, F. A., Kampt, S. K., Fassnacht, S. R., and Sibold, J. S.: Changes in Andes Mountains snow cover from MODIS data 2000–2014, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2017-72, in review, 2017.
Freddy A. Saavedra et al.
Freddy A. Saavedra et al.
Freddy A. Saavedra et al.

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Short summary
This manuscript presents a large latitude and elevation range analysis for snow trends in the Andes Mountains using satellite images (MODIS) snow cover product. The research approach is also significant because it presents a novel strategy for defining trends in snow persistence from remote sensing data, and this allows us to improve understanding of climate change effects on snow in areas with sparse and unevenly ground climate data.
This manuscript presents a large latitude and elevation range analysis for snow trends in the...
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