Hemispheric snow water equivalent: The need for a synergistic approach

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Abstract

Snow plays a crucial role in climatological and hydrological processes, and it is a key factor in modulating energy, water, and carbon budgets. The optically bright snow-covered surface regulates the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Earth, which influences regional energy budgets. Snow water equivalent (SWE), the amount of water stored within the snowpack, has wide-ranging effects: playing a critical role in the management of water resources and hydropower production, influencing the soil temperature through thermally insulating properties, and affecting the ability of rangifers (i.e., caribou) to efficiently forage for food. These are some examples of the importance of estimating snow depth and SWE across regional and hemispheric scales.

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