Variations of Climate, Surface Energy Budget, and Minimum Snow/Ice Extent over Canadian Arctic Landmass for 2000–16 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Snow and ice over land are important hydrological resources and sensitive indicators of climate change. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) dataset at 250-m spatial resolution generated at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS) is used to derive the annual minimum snow and ice (MSI) extent over the Canadian Arctic landmass over a 17-yr time span (2000–16). The smallest MSI extent (1.53 × 105 km2) was observed in 2012, the largest (2.09 × 105 km2) was observed in 2013; the average value was 1.70 × 105 km2. Several reanalyses and observational datasets are assessed to explain the derived MSI variations: the ERA-Interim reanalysis, North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) radiative fluxes, and European Space Agency’s GlobSnow dataset. Comparison with the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) showed two important facts: 1) the semipermanent snowpack in the Canadian Arctic that persists through the entire melting season is a significant component relative to the ice caps and glacier-covered areas (up to 36% or 5.58 × 104 km2), and 2) the MSI variations are related to variations in the local climate dynamics such as warm season average temperature, energy fluxes, and snow cover. The correlation coefficients (absolute values) can be as high as 0.77. The reanalysis-based MSI estimates agree with satellite MSI results (average bias of 2.2 × 103 km2 or 1.3% of the mean value).

publication date

  • February 1, 2018