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Wenfang Xu, Lijuan Ma, Minna Ma, Haicheng Zhang, and Wenping Yuan

1. Introduction Snow cover plays an important role in regulating regional and global climate, especially in the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau, because of its high surface albedo and heat-insulation effect, which influences the energy exchange between the land surface and atmosphere ( Barnett et al. 1988 ; Yang et al. 2001 ; Chapin et al. 2005 ; Euskirchen et al. 2007 ). More than a century ago, Blanford (1884) suggested that an inverse relationship existed between summer rainfall over

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T. Nitta, K. Yoshimura, K. Takata, R. O’ishi, T. Sueyoshi, S. Kanae, T. Oki, A. Abe-Ouchi, and G. E. Liston

1. Introduction Seasonal snow cover is a key variable in the global climate system. For example, snow albedo feedback is important for climate change in heavily populated Northern Hemisphere extratropical landmasses, and its strength in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 and 5 (CMIP3 and CMIP5) models exhibits a large spread ( Hall and Qu 2006 ; Qu and Hall 2014 ). Seasonal snow cover also plays an important role in the hydrological cycle. In Arctic rivers, changes in the

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Taotao Zhang, Tao Wang, Yutong Zhao, Chaoyi Xu, Yingying Feng, and Dan Liu

1. Introduction Snow cover is one of the main components of the cryosphere. It responds sensitively to climate changes and, in turn, can have a profound impact on the Earth system ( Groisman et al. 1994 ; Zhang 2005 ; Brown and Mote 2009 ; Mudryk et al. 2017 ; Henderson et al. 2018 ). Terrestrial snow cover can serve as a shelter protecting species from extreme cold during winter and, after the snowmelt, can provide moisture for vegetation growth ( Callaghan et al. 2011 ; Niittynen et al

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Christopher G. Fletcher, Steven C. Hardiman, Paul J. Kushner, and Judah Cohen

1. Introduction Snow cover is a highly variable land surface condition that exerts a strong control on the heat and moisture budget of the overlying atmosphere ( Cohen and Rind 1991 ; Vavrus 2007 ). However, recent work has shown that regional snow cover variability can also lead to remote and even hemispheric-scale circulation responses. The most studied teleconnection is between variations in fall season Siberian snow cover and lagged changes in the winter northern annular mode (NAM

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Ross D. Brown and Philip W. Mote

1. Introduction Snow cover represents a spatially and temporally integrated response to snowfall events, and the sequence of snowfall and melt events determines not just the quantity of water stored as snow but also snowpack condition (e.g., grain size and compaction), which in turn determines avalanche risk, energy required for melting, albedo of snow, and much more. Snowpack takes on special significance in mountain regions where snow stores enormous quantities of water, altering the ecologic

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Robert J. Allen and Charles S. Zender

). Changing concentrations of atmospheric aerosols may also have an impact on AO trends ( Chung and Ramanathan 2003 ; Allen and Sherwood 2011 ), but this effect remains highly uncertain. Significant observational evidence relates Eurasian snow cover to the AO, influencing its phase, strength, and interannual variability ( Cohen and Entekhabi 1999 ; Saito and Cohen 2003 ; Cohen and Barlow 2005 ). Observations also support a snow–AO mechanism, whereby anomalously high Eurasian snow cover in autumn

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Pavel Ya Groisman, Richard W. Knight, Vyacheslav N. Razuvaev, Olga N. Bulygina, and Thomas R. Karl

1. Introduction In the twentieth century, northern Eurasia was the region with the largest and steadiest increase of surface air temperature, which became the most pronounced during the past 50 years ( Fig. 1 ). This warming should manifest itself in changes of environmental characteristics affecting both terrestrial ecosystem dynamics and human activity. The length of time when the soil is unfrozen, frozen, and/or when it is covered by snow is among the most important of these characteristics

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Stefan Sobolowski, Gavin Gong, and Mingfang Ting

1. Introduction Anomalous continental-scale snow cover can influence both local and downstream climate because of its radiative and thermal properties, which act to modify the overlying atmosphere (e.g., Barnett et al. 1989 ; Cohen and Entekhabi 2001 ; Cohen and Rind 1991 ; Leathers and Robinson 1993 ). These influences may occur from regional to hemispheric spatial scales and immediate to seasonal time scales. Snow cover is a seasonally varying land surface state that covers much of the

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Daniel B. Walton, Alex Hall, Neil Berg, Marla Schwartz, and Fengpeng Sun

1. Introduction California’s Sierra Nevada is a high-elevation mountain range with complex topography and significant seasonal snow cover. Anthropogenic warming in the region is expected to cause large snowpack reductions by the end of the twenty-first century ( Pierce and Cayan 2013 ). Locations with baseline temperatures near freezing are vulnerable to snow cover loss because of less snowfall as a fraction of precipitation ( S / P ) and earlier snowmelt. Areas experiencing snow cover loss are

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Nicholas P. Klingaman, Brian Hanson, and Daniel J. Leathers

1. Introduction a. A case for snow cover Surface boundary forcing exerts a strong influence on monthly and seasonal climate variability ( Shukla 1984 ). Previous studies have emphasized sea surface temperatures (SSTs; e.g., Ropelewski and Halpert 1986 ; Bhatt et al. 1998 ) and soil moisture (e.g., Karl 1986 ; Wolfson et al. 1987 ; Wang and Kumar 1998 ) as boundary conditions; snow cover has only recently become a focus in investigations of seasonal atmospheric variability. Namias (1962

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