Rain or Snow? Resolving the sources, sinks, state and impact of enhanced Arctic precipitation on terrestrial ice mass balance

As the Arctic rapidly warms it is becoming increasingly wetter. This project will test the hypothesis that ongoing Arctic warming and sea-ice loss is driving enhanced evaporation, latent heat flux and precipitation, which is - and will - increasingly fall as rain to accelerate terrestrial ice mass loss and global sea-level rise.


Project information

Project duration


Funded by

Research Council of Finland

Funding amount

347 465 EUR

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Contact information

Project leader

Project description

In an increasingly warm, wet, and ice-free Arctic, one of the most pressing unknowns today is the future response of the region’s large terrestrial ice masses - including the Greenland ice sheet - whose ongoing demise is now supplying the majority of global sea-level rise at over 1.2 mm per year.

This project will provide the first clear picture of how Arctic warming and sea ice loss is enhancing precipitation across high latitudes, determine whether it falls as rain or snow, and assess how it affects the health and response of High Arctic ice masses.

This will be implemented using novel hydro-chemical (water isotope) tracing combined with detailed field data measurements, meteorological and satellite observations, as well as regional climate and ice mass balance models.

Addressing this question has marked societal relevance through improved forecasting of melt runoff supply to global sea-level rise, downstream environments and climate circulation systems, in addition to local meteorological and hydrological impacts.

Project partners