EU-INTAS Project 03-51-5296
Influence of snow vertical structure on hydrothermal regime and snow-related economical aspects in Northern Eurasia.
Expectations of Project
Expectations are high to discover new findings in the relation snow and climate change.
Climate models are in particular sensitive to snow cover parameters, primarily due to its high albedo and the ability to seasonally store water. Due to data availability reasons, snow cover is described in a simplified way by snow height, variable snow water equivalent and a constant albedo.
It is believed that more snow properties are necessary to describe snow cover in a satisfying way. Furthermore the complex pattern of different kinds of snow with a manifold of different and inhomogeneous snow layers should be classified according to major snow types, providing better scenarios for future appearance of snow cover in the landscape. Yet, we do not know the pace and magnitude of change.
A major effort is to explore in how far human life patterns and land uses in Northern Eurasia - our region of concern - which is the entire former Soviet Union with 15 nations and about 50 ethnical groups amounting for more than 280 million inhabitants, stretching over 22 million km² - depends on snow. The region includes some of the highest settlement areas of the world with mountain peaks higher than 7,000 m altitude and huge lowland planes and deserts. The current and future availability of snow and water will be decisive for the settlement pattern of the region.