(ORDO NEWS) — The characteristic area of winter snow cover in mountainous areas has decreased significantly over the past decades. An article about this was published in Scientific Reports.
Global warming affects different regions of the Earth unevenly. The northern and colder regions are warming, while the more southerly and drier regions are becoming wet. The unevenness of global warming affects at different heights.
Claudia Notarnicola of the Eurac Research Center and her colleagues confirmed that mountains are significantly affected by global warming.
“Our measurements confirmed what previous assessments of colleagues indicated. Snow cover on mountains around the world, with a few minor exceptions, continues to decline rapidly.
As a result, the average lifetime of snow in the mountains has been reduced by about 15 days,” says the scientist.
To find out, the authors examined thousands of satellite photographs of the world’s main mountain ranges taken in 2000-2020 by NASA‘s Aqua and Terra spacecraft.
Based on these photographs, a computer model was created summarizing data on changes in snow cover in the mountains since 1982.
It turned out that the area of mountain snow cover has decreased by 3.6% over the past 40 years on average during the year. If only the winter months are included in the analysis, it turns out that the reduction is much stronger – by 11.5%.
First of all, this is typical for massifs in the temperate climatic regions of Canada and Eurasia, where the average snow area has fallen by 8.2% or more.
In addition, the typical lifespan of snow in the mountains (before melting) has decreased by two weeks.
The authors emphasize that such changes harm the water cycle in nature and can lead to a reduction in the number of those plants and animals that survive on the moisture of snow and use it to protect themselves from the cold.
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