One Word: Subnivium

(sub-NIV-ee-um)

The microclimate region that exists beneath the snow. In spring 2013, UW Professor Jonathan Pauli authored a report in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment noting that the subnivium — a winter “haven for insects, reptiles, amphibians, and many other organisms” — is shrinking due to climate change. Snow cover in the northern hemisphere is as much as 3.2 million square kilometers smaller than it was in 1970. “Snow cover is becoming shorter, thinner, and less predictable,” said Pauli. “We’re seeing a trend. The subnivium is in retreat.”

Published in the Fall 2013 issue

Tags: Climate, Research, scholarship, Science

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