Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 12, 227–245, 2018
The Cryosphere, 12, 227–245, 2018

Research article 22 Jan 2018

Research article | 22 Jan 2018

Spatiotemporal variability of snow depth across the Eurasian continent from 1966 to 2012

Xinyue Zhong1,3, Tingjun Zhang2, Shichang Kang3,4, Kang Wang5, Lei Zheng6, Yuantao Hu2, and Huijuan Wang2 Xinyue Zhong et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing of Gansu Province, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 4CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 5Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, 80309, USA
  • 6Chinese Antarctic Center of Surveying and Mapping, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China

Abstract. Snow depth is one of the key physical parameters for understanding land surface energy balance, soil thermal regime, water cycle, and assessing water resources from local community to regional industrial water supply. Previous studies by using in situ data are mostly site specific; data from satellite remote sensing may cover a large area or global scale, but uncertainties remain large. The primary objective of this study is to investigate spatial variability and temporal change in snow depth across the Eurasian continent. Data used include long-term (1966–2012) ground-based measurements from 1814 stations. Spatially, long-term (1971–2000) mean annual snow depths of >20 cm were recorded in northeastern European Russia, the Yenisei River basin, Kamchatka Peninsula, and Sakhalin. Annual mean and maximum snow depth increased by 0.2 and 0.6 cm decade−1 from 1966 through 2012. Seasonally, monthly mean snow depth decreased in autumn and increased in winter and spring over the study period. Regionally, snow depth significantly increased in areas north of 50° N. Compared with air temperature, snowfall had greater influence on snow depth during November through March across the former Soviet Union. This study provides a baseline for snow depth climatology and changes across the Eurasian continent, which would significantly help to better understanding climate system and climate changes on regional, hemispheric, or even global scales.