U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Mountain Snow Pack Projected to Decline
Published: May 01, 2006
Posted: May 23, 2006

A global climate model with an embedded downscaling scheme predicts that regional mean mountain snow pack would decline by up to 50-80% for many regions of the globe over the next century in response to a scenario of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Previous studies with regional climate models have suggested similar reductions for selected regions and decades in the 21st century. Now, for the first time, a global climate model provides global estimates of snowmelt with 5 km spatial resolution for the period 1980-2100. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory added a physically-based downscaling scheme to the Community Climate System Model (CCSM), and used the model to simulate the climate for the period 1980-2100 using an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations during this period as a climate forcing. The downscaling scheme used was fully interactive with the atmosphere and land components of the CCSM and provided global 5 km spatial resolution for any climate variable. Snow pack is most sensitive to spatial resolution because of its dependence on both temperature and precipitation, both of which also depend on surface elevation.

Reference: Ghan, S. J., and T. Shippert. 2006. "Physically-based global downscaling: Climate change projections for a full century," J. Climate 19 15891604.

Contact: Anjuli Bamzai, SC-23.3, (301) 903-0294
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
      (formerly SC-23.3 Climate Change Research Division, OBER)


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)