Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of



Mark R. Anderson

Date of this Version



Published in Interactions between the Cryosphere, Climate and Greenhouse Gases: Proceedings of IUGG 99, Symposium HS2 (July 1999) Birmingham, UK. IAHS publication no. 256. Copyright 1999, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. Used by permission.


Interannual variations in the melt onset of snow provide a mechanism to observe climatic fluctuations. Timing of initial ablation is associated with certain poorly defined overlying atmospheric conditions. This paper investigates the spatial and temporal patterns in melt onset dates and associated 500 hPa height anomalies over the Arctic region from 1982 to 1992. Melt onset dates are derived from Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) data, while 500 hPa height anomalies are computed from the National Centers for Environmental Protection (NCEP) reanalysis models. Results indicate significant interannual variations in the spatial pattern and timing of melt onset. With the assistance of principal component analysis (PCA) links between the melt onset dates and the 500 hPa height anomaly field are highlighted.