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Article

Snow Processes and Climate Sensitivity in an Arid Mountain Region, Northern Chile

1
Advanced Mining Technology Center, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8370448, Chile
2
Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8370448, Chile
3
Department of Environmental Sciences and Renewable Natural Resources, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8820808, Chile
4
Department of Natural Sciences and Technology, Universidad de Aysén, Coyhaique 5952039, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jorge F. Carrasco
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040520
Received: 4 February 2021 / Revised: 19 February 2021 / Accepted: 20 February 2021 / Published: 20 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Measuring Snow Processes across Scales)
Seasonal snow and glaciers in arid mountain regions are essential in sustaining human populations, economic activity, and ecosystems, especially in their role as reservoirs. However, they are threatened by global atmospheric changes, in particular by variations in air temperature and their effects on precipitation phase, snow dynamics and mass balance. In arid environments, small variations in snow mass and energy balance can produce large changes in the amount of available water. This paper provides insights into the impact of global warming on the mass balance of the seasonal snowpack in the mountainous Copiapó river basin in northern Chile. A dataset from an experimental station was combined with reanalysis data to run a physically based snow model at site and catchment scales. The basin received an average annual precipitation of approximately 130 mm from 2001 to 2016, with sublimation losses higher than 70% of the snowpack. Blowing snow sublimation presented an orographic gradient resultant from the decreasing air temperature and windy environment in higher elevations. Under warmer climates, the snowpack will remain insensitive in high elevations (>4000 m a.s.l.), but liquid precipitation will increase at lower heights. View Full-Text
Keywords: snow hydrology; sublimation; arid region; sensitivity analysis; hydrological modeling snow hydrology; sublimation; arid region; sensitivity analysis; hydrological modeling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jara, F.; Lagos-Zúñiga, M.; Fuster, R.; Mattar, C.; McPhee, J. Snow Processes and Climate Sensitivity in an Arid Mountain Region, Northern Chile. Atmosphere 2021, 12, 520. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040520

AMA Style

Jara F, Lagos-Zúñiga M, Fuster R, Mattar C, McPhee J. Snow Processes and Climate Sensitivity in an Arid Mountain Region, Northern Chile. Atmosphere. 2021; 12(4):520. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040520

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jara, Francisco, Miguel Lagos-Zúñiga, Rodrigo Fuster, Cristian Mattar, and James McPhee. 2021. "Snow Processes and Climate Sensitivity in an Arid Mountain Region, Northern Chile" Atmosphere 12, no. 4: 520. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040520

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