Snow cover plays an important role in the global energy budget by modulating the surface fluxes of sensible, latent, and especially radiative energy. In this study General Circulation Models (GCMs) submitted to the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) are evaluated in terms of their ability to simulate observed snow cover extent over Eurasia and North America. In addition, regional associations between snow cover extent and other surface variables, as well as synoptic pattems, are analyzed.
We examine the AMIP results in terms of: 1) their ability to reproduce
the observed nine-year snow cover extent climatology (with regards to central
tendency, systematic bias, and dispersion); 2) model ability to capture
interannual fluctuations; 3) model performance as a function of model numerical
properties (horizontal representation, horizontal resolution, and vertical
resolution); and 4) their ability to capture associations between regional
snow cover and other surface variables, as well as between snow cover and
synoptic scale circulation patterns.