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Changes in snow cover extent in the Central Taurus Mountains from 1981 to 2021 in relation to temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric teleconnections

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The snow cover over the Taurus Mountains affects water supply, agriculture, and hydropower generation in the region. In this study, we analyzed the monthly Snow Cover Extent (SCE) from November to April in the Central Taurus Mountains (Bolkar, Aladağlar, Tahtali and Binboğa Mountains) from 1981 to 2021. Linear trends of snow cover season (November to April) over the last 41 years showed decreases in SCE primarily at lower elevations. The downward trend in SCE was found to be more pronounced and statistically significant for only November and March. SCE in the Central Taurus Mountains has declined about −6.3% per decade for 2500–3000 m in November and about −6.0% per decade for 1000–1500 m and 3000+ m in March over the last 41 years. The loss of SCE has become evident since the 2000s, and the lowest negative anomalies in SCE have been observed in 2014, 2001, and 2007 in the last 41 years, which are consistent with an increase in air temperature and decreased precipitation. SCE was correlated with both mean temperature and precipitation, with temperature having a greater relative importance at all elevated gradients. Results showed that there is a strong linear relationship between SCE and the mean air temperature (r = −0.80) and precipitation (r = 0.44) for all elevated gradients during the snow season. The Arctic Oscillation (AO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Mediterranean Oscillation (MO) winter indices were used to explain the year-to-year variability in SCE over the Central Taurus Mountains. The results showed that the inter-annual variability observed in the winter SCE on the Central Taurus Mountains was positively correlated with the phases of the winter AO, NAO and MO, especially below 2000 m elevation.

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Data Availability: The input data are from public sources and available in reference list. Result data are not openly accessible, and researchers interested in accessing the data can contact the corresponding author.


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We thank Dr. Ekrem Kandemir from TÜBİTAK National Observatory for his support with the Python software works about writing the global precipitation clipping codes. We also thank to the TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM for their publicly available product Pardus v21.2-distributor of the Linux operating system, which we utilized its environment to perform our statistical analyzes. In this study, ArcGIS pro v2.18 (licensed — ESRI) software and Cygwin64 software were used. We are also grateful to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their assistance with this study. No funding source was received for this study.

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ERLAT Ecmel: Conceptualization (Equal), Formal analysis (Equal) Investigation (Lead), Methodology (Lead), Supervision (Lead), Validation (Lead), Writing–original draft (Equal), Writing–review & editing (Equal). AYDIN-KANDEMİR Fulya: Conceptualization (Equal), Data curation (Lead), Formal analysis (Equal), Investigation (Supporting), Methodology (Supporting), Resources (Lead), Software (Lead), Validation (Supporting), Visualization (Lead), Writing–original draft (Equal), Writing - review & editing (Equal).

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Correspondence to Fulya Aydin-Kandemir.

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Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Erlat, E., Aydin-Kandemir, F. Changes in snow cover extent in the Central Taurus Mountains from 1981 to 2021 in relation to temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric teleconnections. J. Mt. Sci. 21, 49–67 (2024).

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