About this Research Topic
Seasonal snow cover plays a crucial role in Earth's energy budget. It affects glacier mass balance and hydrology cycle and fjord freshwater input, absorbs and scavenges a wide variety of gases and aerosols from the atmosphere, is a substrate for microbial communities and regulates plant and soil processes, in addition to impacting terrestrial fauna. Seasonal snowpacks are very sensitive to changing climate conditions. In the Arctic and in particular in the Svalbard archipelago, the seasonal snowpack covers ~60 to 100 % of the land between winter and summer. Changes in Arctic snowpack properties have been observed in the last decade in response to high-latitude warming and will likely continue in the future, with important anticipated effects on cryosphere environments. Multidisciplinary snow research, based on in-situ and remote observations, has become an important vehicle for studying the impact of climate change in the Arctic and the critical role snow has on it.
This Research Topic will focus on research on the seasonal snow cover within the Pan-Arctic region. The seasonal snowpack is at the interface between various environmental geosphere and the scientific community can only understand the effect of Arctic amplification on this ecosystem with a multidisciplinary approach. The seasonal snow cover responds extremely rapidly to temperature rise and to changes in climate conditions, thus impacting hydrology seasonal cycle and glacier mass balance, permafrost temperature regime and thaw, preservation, storage and release of natural elements, chemical compounds and impurities, access to food of the local fauna, development of microbial communities and stability of the seasonal snowpack. Therefore, the goal of this collection is to present results highlighting multidisciplinary snow research topics, particularly linking terrestrial, cryosphere and atmosphere research fields. Different approaches, based on in-situ and/or remote observations, can contribute to the description of the snow seasonality in Arctic areas.
We welcome researching focusing on, but not limited to, the following themes:
• Address and study the change of seasonal snow cover in the Arctic and its possible effects on permafrost thermal regime, glacier mass balance and terrestrial ecosystems;
• Address the effect of current climate change on the physical characteristics of the seasonal snowpack (i.e. melting refreezing, rain on snow) and possible consequences for fauna, flora and snowpack stability;
• Address and study the processes that cause the deposition and presence of impurities, including anthropogenic contaminants, in seasonal snowpacks and their release during melting and the potential effect on ecosystems;
• Address the diversity of microbial communities in the seasonal snowpack and how they are connected to other ecosystems, such as the atmosphere, ice and permafrost;
• Technological improvements\developments for measuring key physical snow parameters to better understand the processes related to seasonal snowpack, including remote sensing, field and laboratory experiments;
• Data sharing of relevant snow-cover-related datasets and integration between observations, obtained at different spatial resolutions and time scales, and model frameworks.
Keywords: cryosphere, chemistry, biology, physics, remote sensing
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.