Shorter snowfall seasons in the future, accompanied by warming temperatures, could have significant consequences for the hydrological and carbon cycles, permafrost, ecosystems, and surface and atmospheric energy budgets.

This work builds on a previous study by the same group on 80 synoptic weather stations, where the length of the snowfall season in Siberia was found to increase from 1936–1994 due to an earlier onset of the snowfall season and later last snowfall. The researchers confirm that these trends are not directly associated with a warming climate because of the specific time period analysed. In this new study, the team has correlated snow onset and snow ending dates, as well as the length of the snowfall season, with the spring/fall air temperature at each station. The results highlight how increasing air temperatures directly impact the snowfall season and also show that the most vulnerable locations are those with a mean spring and fall air temperature of around 6 °C.

Both the scientists involved in this work have a long history of researching snow and precipitation conditions and how they are changing over northern Eurasia. These changes are part of a larger set of changes in precipitation characteristics under a warming climate across the pan-Arctic.

The scientists reported their findings in Environmental Research Letters (ERL).

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