New Paper Under Review “Changes In Seasonal Snow Cover In Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region” By Gurung Et Al 2011

I was alerted to an excellent paper under review by Ashok Priyadarshan Dimri of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Dehli. The paper is in an open review format) on the journal The Cyrosphere. The paper headlines with this information

This discussion paper is/has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC if available.

The paper is

D. R. Gurung, A. V. Kulkarni, A. Giriraj, K. S. Aung, B. Shrestha, and J. Srinivasan, 2011: Changes in seasonal snow cover in Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. The Cryosphere Discuss., 5, 755–777, 2011 http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/5/755/2011/ doi:10.5194/tcd-5-755-2011

The interative review process can be read here. [as a sidenote, I find this jounral refreshing as they post all reviews and responses; this is an effective model for other journals!]

The abstract reads [highlight added]

The changes in seasonal snow covered area in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region have been examined using Moderate – resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 8-day standard snow products. The average snow covered area of the HKH region based on satellite data from 2000 to 2010 is 0.76 million km2 5 which is 18.23% of the total geographical area of the region. The linear trend in annual snow cover from 2000 to 2010 is −1.25±1.13%. This is in consistent with earlier reported decline of the decade from 1990 to 2001. A similar trend for western, central and eastern HKH region is 8.55±1.70%, +1.66%±2.26% and 0.82±2.50%, respectively. The snow  covered area in spring for HKH region indicates a declining trend (−1.04±0.97%). The amount of annual snowfall is correlated with annual seasonal snow cover for the western Himalaya, indicating that changes in snow cover are primarily due to interannual variations in circulation patterns. Snow cover trends over a decade were also found to vary across seasonally and the region. Snow cover trends for western HKH are positive for all seasons. In central HKH the trend is positive (+15.53±5.69%) in autumn and negative (−03.68±3.01) in winter. In eastern HKH the trend is positive in summer (+3.35±1.62%) and autumn (+7.74±5.84%). The eastern and western region of HKH has an increasing trend of 10% to 12%, while the central region has a declining trend of 12% to 14% in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Snow cover depletion curve plotted for the hydrological year 2000–2001 reveal peaks in the month of February with subsidiary peaks observed in November and December in all three regions of the HKH.

The conclusion has the text

“In this investigation different techniques were used to remove cloud cover and this has improved usability of snow cover product. The snow cover products were further validated using snowfall data of the Western Himalaya and high resolution AWiFS data of the Eastern Himalaya.

The average snow cover area of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region based on satellite data from 2000 to 2010 is 0.76 million km2 which is 18.23% of the total geographical area. The linear trend in annual snow cover from 2000 to 2010 is –1.25±1.13%. This is significantly different from earlier reported for 2000–2008 (Immerzeel et al., 2009), and decline is significantly less than reported for an earlier decade between 1990 and 2010 (Menon et al., 2010). The good correlation between snow cover, mean annual snowfall and mean annual vertical velocity at 500mb in the winter period for the Western Himalaya suggest the changes in snow cover between 2000 and 2010 are due to inter annual variations in circulation pattern. Snow cover trend over 2000–2010 was also found to vary across seasons and geographical extent.The snow cover area in spring indicates declining trend (–1.04±0.97%) for Hind Kush-Himalayan region. The western and eastern region of Hind Kush-Himalayan has increasing trend (10%–12%), while central region has declining trend (12%–14%) in this decade. Intra-annual variation showed areal extent of snow cover peaks in the month of February with subsidiary peaks were observed in November and December.”

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