Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-198
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
09 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Canadian Snow and Sea Ice: Trends (1981–2015) and Projections (2020–2050)
Lawrence Mudryk1, Chris Derksen1, Stephen Howell1, Fred Laliberté1, Chad Thackeray2, Reinel Sospedra-Alfonso3, Vincent Vionnet4, Paul Kushner5, and Ross Brown6 1Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
2Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Canada
3Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Victoria, Canada
4Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Centre d’Etudes de la Neige, Grenoble, France
5Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
6Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Montreal, Canada
Abstract. The Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution Network (CanSISE) is a climate research network focused on developing and applying state of the art observational data to advance dynamical prediction, projections, and understanding of seasonal snow cover and sea ice in Canada and the circumpolar Arctic. Here, we present an assessment from the CanSISE network on trends in the historical record of snow cover (fraction, water equivalent) and sea ice (area, concentration, type, and thickness) across Canada. We also assess projected changes in snow cover and sea ice likely to occur by mid-century, as simulated by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) suite of earth system models. The historical datasets show that the fraction of Canadian land and marine areas covered by snow and ice is decreasing over time, with seasonal and regional variability in the trends consistent with regional differences in surface temperature trends. In particular, summer sea ice cover has decreased significantly across nearly all Canadian marine regions, and the rate of multiyear ice loss in the Beaufort Sea and Canadian Arctic Archipelago has nearly doubled over the last eight years. The multimodel consensus over the 2020–2050 period shows reductions in fall and spring snow cover fraction and sea ice concentration of 5–10 % per decade (or 15–30 % in total), with similar reductions in winter sea ice concentration in both Hudson Bay and eastern Canadian waters. Peak pre-melt terrestrial snow water equivalent reductions of up to 10 % per decade (30 % in total) are projected across southern Canada.

Citation: Mudryk, L., Derksen, C., Howell, S., Laliberté, F., Thackeray, C., Sospedra-Alfonso, R., Vionnet, V., Kushner, P., and Brown, R.: Canadian Snow and Sea Ice: Trends (1981–2015) and Projections (2020–2050), The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-198, in review, 2017.
Lawrence Mudryk et al.
Lawrence Mudryk et al.
Lawrence Mudryk et al.

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