On the Relevance of Aerosols to Snow Cover Variability Over High Mountain Asia


While meteorology and aerosols are identified as key drivers of snow cover (SC) variability in High Mountain Asia, complex non-linear interactions between them are not adequately quantified. Here, we attempt to unravel these interactions through a simple relative importance (RI) analysis of meteorological and aerosol variables from ERA5/CAMS-EAC4 reanalysis against satellite-derived SC from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer across 2003–2018. Our results show a statistically significant 7% rise in the RI of aerosol-meteorology interactions (AMI) in modulating SC during late snowmelt season (June and July), notably over low snow-covered (LSC) regions. Sensitivity tests further reveal that the importance of meteorological interactions with individual aerosol species are more prominent than total aerosols over LSC regions. We find that the RI of AMI for LSC regions is clearly dominated by carbonaceous aerosols, on top of the expected importance of dynamic meteorology. These findings clearly highlight the need to consider AMI in hydrometeorological monitoring, modeling, and reanalyses.

Geophysical Research Letters