Changes in frost, snow and Baltic sea ice by the end of the twenty-first century based on climate model projections for Europe
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Changes in indices related to frost and snow in Europe by the end of the twenty-first century were analyzed based on experiments performed with seven regional climate models (RCMs). All the RCMs regionalized information from the same general circulation model (GCM), applying the IPCC-SRES A2 radiative forcing scenario. In addition, some simulations used SRES B2 radiative forcing and/or boundary conditions provided by an alternative GCM. Ice cover over the Baltic Sea was examined using a statistical model that related the annual maximum extent of ice to wintertime coastal temperatures. Fewer days with frost and snow, shorter frost seasons, a smaller liquid water equivalent of snow, and milder sea ice conditions were produced by all model simulations, irrespective of the forcing scenario and the driving GCM. The projected changes have implications across a diverse range of human activities. Details of the projections were subject to differences in RCM design, deviations between the boundary conditions of the driving GCMs, uncertainties in future emissions and random effects due to internal climate variability. A larger number of GCMs as drivers of the RCMs would most likely have resulted in somewhat wider ranges in the frost, snow and sea ice estimates than those presented in this paper.
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