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Anthropogenic influence would increase intense snowfall events over parts of the Northern Hemisphere in the future[2020-11-12]
Snowfall is an important element of the climate system and generally has particularly large economic and human impacts. Simulations with climate models have indicated a decline in mean snowfall with warming in most regions. The response of intense snowfall events to a changing climate, however, is unclear. Thus, the degree which anthropogenic influence is responsible for intense snowfall change and how intense snowfall will respond to the changing climate in the future are addressed here using new simulations from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 models. The results show that anthropogenic influences on changes in snowfall are detectable across the lands of the Northern Hemisphere and generally result in a decreasing trend in snowfall events. However, increased anthropogenic activity has increased intense snowfall occurrences over most parts of Asia, North America, and Greenland. With additional warming in the future, while the length of the snowy season will be shortened and the areas where snowfall occurs will be reduced, the occurrence probability of an intense snowfall event is projected to significantly increase with a level of high confidence over these regions by the end of this century. This suggests that these regions, including most parts of northern China, would suffer from more intense snowfall events in the future due to a continuous increase in anthropogenic influence.
Chen, H. P., J. Q. Sun, W. Q. Lin, 2020: Anthropogenic influence would increase intense snowfall events over parts of the Northern Hemisphere in the future. Environmental Research Letter, 15, 114022, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abbc93