Journal article Open Access

Snow in the changing sea-ice systems

Webster, Melinda; Gerland, Sebastian; Holland, Marika; Hunke, Elizabeth; Kwok, Ron; Lecomte, Olivier; Massom, Robert; Perovich, Don; Sturm, Matthew

Snow is the most reflective, and also the most insulative, natural material on Earth. Consequently, it is an integral part of the sea-ice and climate systems. However, the spatial and temporal heterogeneities of snow pose challenges for observing, understanding and modelling those systems under anthropogenic warming. Here, we survey the snow–ice system, then provide recommendations for overcoming present challenges. These include: collecting process-oriented observations for model diagnostics and understanding snow–ice feedbacks, and improving our remote sensing capabilities of snow for monitoring large-scale changes in snow on sea ice. These efforts could be achieved through stronger coordination between the observational, remote sensing and modelling communities, and would pay dividends through distinct improvements in predictions of polar environments.

Files (3.2 MB)
Name Size
3.2 MB Download
All versions This version
Views 2929
Downloads 3434
Data volume 108.2 MB108.2 MB
Unique views 2828
Unique downloads 3434


Cite as