Winter snow depth in Central Asia will tend to experience an increase in northeastern and to decrease in midwestern regions, if the global temperature keeps rising in the next three decades, according to a recent Chinese study.
Global warming, with even just half a degree more in global temperatures rising since pre-industrial times could mean the difference between life and death for a large portion of the planet.
The Earth is now around 1°C hotter since pre-industrial times.
Member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to limit warming to 2.0°C in 2015, which many consider as the upper threshold before irreversible and catastrophic damage is done to the planet. A more ambitious, but non-binding goal, of 1.5 °C was set as well, at the urging of more vulnerable countries that called 2.0°C warming a death sentence.
Scientists from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, investigated changes of winter snow depth in Central Asia, at 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming levels projections.
Snow cover is the key recharge sources of river flow in arid regions. Snow depth plays an essential role in water and energy balance of the land surface. It is of special importance in arid and semi-arid regions of Central Asia, said the researchers.
"According to the joint probability distributions of precipitation and temperature, Central Asia will tend to experience a warmer and wetter winter at both 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming levels, which can be associated with an increase in snow depth in the northeastern regions," said TAO Hui, a researcher from XIEG who led the study.
Results of the study were published on Science of the Total Environment entitled “Impacts of 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming on winter snow depth in Central Asia”.