Understanding the Snow Cover Climatology over Turkey from ERA5-Land Reanalysis Data and MODIS Snow Cover Frequency Product

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AKYÜREK S. Z., Kuter S., Karaman Ç. H., Akpınar B.

Geosciences (Switzerland), vol.13, no.10, 2023 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/geosciences13100311
  • Journal Name: Geosciences (Switzerland)
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: MOD10C1_CGF, reanalysis data, snow climatology, snow frequency
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Understanding the distribution, patterns, and characteristics of snowfall and snow cover within a given region over extended periods is important. Snow climatology provides valuable insights into the seasonal and long-term variations in snowfall, helping researchers and meteorologists understand the impacts of climate change on snow accumulation, melt rates, and snowmelt runoff. In this study, in order to understand the spatial and temporal variation in snow cover in Turkey, the temporal and spatial dynamics of snow cover in the country were analyzed during the latest and longest period from 1970 to 2022 using ERA5-Land reanalysis product. It is aimed (1) to show snow-covered area (SCA), snow duration, and snow depth trends over the country; (2) to examine the altitudinal difference of snow phenology response to climate change; and (3) to evaluate the Snow Cover Frequency Maps from MODIS Snow Cover Products with the reanalysis snow depth data. It is found that the “false snow” mapping problem still exists in the MOD10C1_CGF Snow Cover Frequency maps over Turkey, especially in the melting period. We found that an increasing trend of 0.4 °C/decade and snow duration have a decreasing trend due to the early melting between 1970 and 2022. This trend is even more noticeable at elevations below 2000 m. Another important finding is the decreasing trend in snow duration at altitudes below 500 m, indicating a shift from snow to rain for precipitation types.