Changes in global snow cover:
Snow is a crucial component of the global climate system. Simultaneously, snow is influencing the energy budget of the atmosphere and the land surface. Surface albedo is strongly influenced by the existence of snow coverage.
In addition, a significant large part of the world’s population depends directly on runoff generated by snow and ice melt for water supply. This article introduces shortly the effect of snow on climate, comments on regional and local coherence of snow melt, runoff and water availability and addresses currently available methods to quantify snow parameters.
The description of measurement methods of snow is essential for interpretation of observable long-term changes in recent decades. To date, measurements on extensive distribution of snow parameters can only be provided for the snow cover extent. As a consequence, an assessment of decadal changes in snow accumulation is only possible for single point observations.
This article concludes with a summary on currently available projections on changes of snow cover parameters for the next few decades.