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BNZ

Snow and Climate

By tracking seasonal changes in snow cover for decades, BNZ scientists have discovered that the snow free season in the boreal forests of Alaska is lengthening and likely to speed the rate of warming by increasing the amount of light energy absorbed by the land surface.

Euskirchen, E.S., A.D. McGuire, T.S. Rupp, F.S. Chapin III, and J.E. Walsh. 2009. Projected changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in fire disturbance and the snow season in the western Arctic, 2003 - 2100. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 114, G04022, 15 pages, doi:10.1029/2009JG001095.
Euskirchen, E.S., A.D. McGuire, F.S. Chapin, and T.S. Rupp. 2010. The changing effects of Alaska boreal forests on the climate system. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40:1336-1346. doi:10.1139/X09-209.
Zhuang, Q., Melillo, J.M., McGuire, A.D., Kicklighter, D.W., Prinn, R.G., Steudler, P.A., Felzer, B.S., and Hu, S. 2007. Net emissions of CH4 and CO2 in Alaska: implications for the region's greenhouse gas budget. Ecol. App. 17:203 - 212.
Dr. A. David McGuire
Dr. Eugenie Euskirchen
Changes in the duration of the snow season represent a strong positive feedback to climate warming due to the contrast in surface reflectivity between snow- covered and snow-free ground.
E. Euskirchen.
Summary of changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in land surface albedo and carbon and methane uptake/emissions in boreal Alaska, from available estimates. A negative sign represents a negative feedback for a sink term and a positive sign represents a positive feedback for a source term.
Euskirchen et al., 2010.

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