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Arctic Snowfall from CloudSat Observations and Reanalyses

Abstract : While snowfall makes a major contribution to the hydrological cycle in the Arctic, state-of-the-art climatologies still significantly disagree. We present a satellite-based characterization of snowfall in the Arctic using CloudSat observations, and compare it with various other climatologies. First, we examine the frequency and phase of precipitation as well as the snowfall rates from CloudSat over 2007–10. Frequency of solid precipitation is higher than 70% over the Arctic Ocean and 95% over Greenland, while mixed precipitation occurs mainly over North Atlantic (50%) and liquid precipitation over land south of 70°N (40%). Intense mean snowfall rates are located over Greenland, the Barents Sea, and the Alaska range (>500 mm yr−1), and maxima are located over the southeast coast of Greenland (up to 2000 mm yr−1). Then we compare snowfall rates with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim, herein ERA-I) and Arctic System Reanalysis (ASR). Similar general geographical patterns are observed in all datasets, such as the high snowfall rates along the North Atlantic storm track. Yet, there are significant mean snowfall rate differences over the Arctic between 58° and 82°N between ERA-I (153 mm yr−1), ASR version 1 (206 mm yr−1), ASR version 2 (174 mm yr−1), and CloudSat (183 mm yr−1). Snowfall rates and differences are larger over Greenland. Phase attribution is likely to be a significant source of snowfall rate differences, especially regarding ERA-I underestimation. In spite of its nadir-viewing limitations, CloudSat is an essential source of information to characterize snowfall in the Arctic.
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Contributor : Christophe Genthon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, December 3, 2021 - 8:17:19 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 10:08:59 AM
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[15200442 - Journal of Climate...
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L. Edel, C. Claud, C. Genthon, C. Palerme, N. Wood, et al.. Arctic Snowfall from CloudSat Observations and Reanalyses. Journal of Climate, American Meteorological Society, 2020, 33 (6), pp.2093-2109. ⟨10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0105.1⟩. ⟨hal-02997782⟩



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