A long-term Arctic snow depth record from Abisko, northern Sweden, 1913–2004

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Jack Kohler, Ola Brandt (2006)

A newly digitized record of snow depth from the Abisko Scientifi c Research Station in northern Sweden covers the period 1913–present. Mean snow depths were taken from paper records of measurements made on a profi le comprising 10 permanent stakes. This long-term record yields snow depths consistent with two other shorter term Abisko records: measurements made at another 10-stake profi le (1974–present) and at a single stake (1956–present). The measurement interval is variable, ranging from daily to monthly, and there are no data for about half of the winter months in the period 1930–1956. To fi ll the gaps, we use a simple snowpack model driven by concurrent temperature and precipitation measurements at Abisko. Model snow depths are similar to observed; differences between the two records are comparable to those between profi le and single stake measurements. For both model and observed snow depth records, the most statistically signifi cant trend is in winter mean snow depths, amounting to an increase of about 2 cm or 5 % of the mean per decade over the whole measurement period, and 10 % per decade since the 1930–40s, but all seasonal means of snow depth show positive trends on the longest timescales. However, the start, end, and length of the snow season do not show any statistically signifi cant long-term trends. Finally, the relation between the Arctic Oscillation index and Abisko temperature, precipitation and snow depth is positive and highly signifi cant, with the best correlations for winter.
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