Chinese researchers have recently completed the construction of a basic data set of spatial distributions and variations of snow cover distribution in the southern foothills of the Altai Mountains in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The data set will provide important verification data for remote sensing and hydrological models of the Altai Mountains, one of the main snow distribution areas in China, said Zhong Xinyue, lead author of the study and a researcher with Northwest Institute of Eco-environment and Resources (NIEER) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The study was jointly conducted by researchers from the NIEER, Lanzhou University and other institutions. It has been published in the journal Advances in Climate Change Research.
The researchers collected and studied data involving snow depth, snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow density in the foothills of the southern Altai Mountains.
Snow cover is an important indicator of climate change, as properties of snow and their changes are crucial to a better understanding of hydrological processes, soil thermal regimes and surface energy balances.
"Snow property distributions were strongly influenced by topography and vegetation in the southern Altai Mountains. Elevation and latitude were the most important factors affecting snow depth and SWE, while snow density was strongly affected by longitude," Zhong said.
The study will also help better understand the relationships among snow, topography and climate in high mountains of Asia, Zhong added. (Xinhua)
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