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Spatiotemporal distribution of threatened high-latitude snowbed and snow patch habitats in warming climate
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
2012 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 7, no 3, 034024- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We studied the interannual variation of late summer snow covered area (SCA), i.e. snowbeds and permanent snow patches, in northern Finland and analyzed the role of topographical factors and climatic conditions on the recent and future occurrence of summer snow. SCA for the years 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2009 was derived from Landsat images using a normalized difference snow index (NDSI). Late summer SCA varied notably between the years (1.5-23.0 km(2)). A major part of the late summer snow was located above 900-1000 m and on northern and eastern slopes. A generalized additive model (GAM) showed that the number of years with snow present in 1 km grid squares was strongly positively related to altitude and terrain ruggedness. Parallel examination of interannual variation of SCA and climatic conditions showed that snow cover declines were linked to relatively low snowfall-to-rainfall ratios. Annual mean air temperatures, particularly spring and early winter temperatures, showed increasing trends during the study period. Projected increases in air temperatures and rainfall suggest earlier and more efficient snow melt in the future. This may threaten the occurrence of species and communities related to snowbeds and decrease the beta-diversity of the landscape, and could also affect ecosystem services of the region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol: Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP), 2012. Vol. 7, no 3, 034024- p.
Keyword [en]
climate warming, high-latitude regions, remote sensing, snow, threatened habitats
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61376DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/034024ISI: 000309555300025OAI: diva2:570031
Available from: 2012-11-16 Created: 2012-11-12 Last updated: 2016-05-18Bibliographically approved

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Kaarlejärvi, Elina
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