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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-302
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-302
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 04 Feb 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

How much snow falls in the world’s mountains? A first look at mountain snowfall estimates in A-train observations and reanalyses

Anne Sophie Daloz1,2,3, Marian Mateling4, Tristan L'Ecuyer2,4, Mark Kulie5, Norm B. Wood1, Mikael Durand6, Melissa Wrzesien7, Camilla W. Stjern3, and Ashok P. Dimri8 Anne Sophie Daloz et al.
  • 1Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 West Dayton Street, 53706 Madison, WI, USA
  • 2Center for Climatic Research (CCR), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 West Dayton Street, 53706 Madison, WI, USA
  • 3Center for International Climate Research (CICERO), Gaustadalleen 21, 0349, Oslo, Norway
  • 4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1225 West Dayton Street, 53706 Madison, WI, USA
  • 5NOAA/NESDIS/STAR/Advanced Satellite Products Branch, 1225 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
  • 6School of Earth Sciences and Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, Ohio State University, 108 Scott Hall, 1090 Carmack Rd, Columbus OH, 43210, USA
  • 7Department of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 25799, USA
  • 8School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 110067, India

Abstract. CloudSat estimates that 1773 cubic km of snow falls, on average, each year over the world’s mountains. This volume of snow amounts to five percent of the volume of snowfall accumulations globally. This study provides a synthesis of mountain snowfall estimates over the four continents containing mountains (Eurasia, North America, South America and Africa), comparing snowfall estimates from new observation-based and four reanalysis datasets. Globally, the fraction of snow that falls in the world’s mountains is very similar between all these independent datasets (4–5 %), providing confidence in this estimate. The fraction of mountain snowfall for the different continents is also very similar between the different datasets. However, the magnitude of snowfall estimates differs substantially. The consensus in fractions and the dissimilarities in magnitude seem to indicate that large-scale forcings are similarly represented in the five datasets: however, at smaller scales (microphysics) there might be large discrepancies.

Anne Sophie Daloz et al.

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Anne Sophie Daloz et al.

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Latest update: 05 Apr 2020
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Short summary
Snow is a vital source of water. Under climate change, this resource is at risk. To better understand how snow will be impacted by climate change in the future, we need to know how reliable are the current observational datasets of snowfall. In this study, we compare five different datasets in terms of mountainous and non-mountainous snowfall. We found that they agree on the contribution of mountainous to total snowfall (4–5 %) but they can have show discrepancies when looking at the magnitude.
Snow is a vital source of water. Under climate change, this resource is at risk. To better...
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