Earlier spring in the Arctic

September 25, 2012 – 4:26 pm

There was a well reported story on NPR yesterday about recent trends in Arctic snow melt:

Derksen and colleague Ross Brown have produced a study, which has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, that documents a dramatic increase in the speed of this snowmelt. It turns out that in May and June, snow across the far north is disappearing fast. “It’s decreasing at a more rapid rate than summer sea ice,” Derksen says. “So the loss of snow cover across the Arctic is really as big an issue as the loss of sea ice.”

It is nice to have more confirmation of this trend since it is a major premise of our Arctic field experiment.  I don’t think the paper is available online yet.
There is some interesting data from our specific site, Imnavait Creek, showing that in recent years, there has actually been a lack of early snowmelt events:


That’s snowmelt day of year on the vertical axis and calendar year on the horizontal. So it is good to know that our experiment is accurately simulating a broad Arctic trend even if there has been a recent local effect that is the opposite.

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