To more fully understand the role of precipitation in observed increases in freshwater discharge to the Arctic Ocean, data from a new archive of bias-adjusted precipitation records for the former USSR (TD9813), along with the CRU and Willmott-Matsuura data sets, were examined for the period 1936–1999. Across the six largest Eurasian river basins, snowfall derived from TD9813 exhibits a strongly significant increase until the late 1950s and a moderately significant decrease thereafter. A strongly significant decline in derived rainfall is also noted. Spatially, snowfall increases are found primarily across north-central Eurasia, an area where the rainfall decreases are most prominent. Although no significant change is determined in Eurasian-basin snowfall over the entire 64 year period, we note that interpolation from early, uneven station networks causes an overestimation of spatial precipitation, and that the local snowfall trends determined from gridded TD9813 data are likely underestimated. Yet, numerous uncertainties in historical Arctic climate data and the sparse, irregular nature of Arctic station networks preclude a confident assessment of precipitation-discharge linkages during the period of reported discharge trends.
Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center
Geophysical Research Letters
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Rawlins, M. A., C. J. Willmott, A. Shiklomanov, E. Linder, S. Frolking, R. B. Lammers, and C. J. Vörösmarty (2006), Evaluation of trends in derived snowfall and rainfall across Eurasia and linkages with discharge to the Arctic Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L07403, doi:10.1029/2005GL025231.
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.