Li, YP; Chen, YN; Li, Z (2020). Climate and topographic controls on snow phenology dynamics in the Tienshan Mountains, Central Asia. ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH, 236, 104813.

Although previous studies have characterized changes in seasonal snow cover or made predictions about snow cover in a changing climate, no comprehensive spatiotemporal analysis of snow phenology has been presented for the Tienshan Mountains, Central Asia. Relying on daily cloud-free snow cover fraction products originating from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) for 2002/03-2017/18, the snow phenology parameters (i.e., snow cover duration [SCD], snow onset date [SOD] and snow end date [SED]) are derived for each hydrological year within the study period and the characteristics analyzed for the Tienshan Mountains. The spatiotemporal changes of snow phenology have strong altitude dependence. The mean gradients of SCD, SOD, and SED with elevation are 6.0, - 2.55, and 3.44 d/100 m, respectively. Because of differences in solar radiation and water vapor sources, the north-facing areas generally have a higher SCD, earlier SOD, and later SED than south-facing areas. Also, the trends of the snow phenology parameters at high and low altitudes show opposite changes. Consistent with the increase in snow cover area in recent years, SCD for the entire Tienshan region showed a clear uptick, especially in Northern Tienshan. This prolonged SCD was more related to advanced SOD than to SED, as decreased temperature and increased precipitation in autumn are conducive to snow accumulation.