from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Occurring beneath a layer of snow

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Situated or carried on under the snow.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • A lively afterword explains in more detail the nature of that "secret kingdom," an insulated area between the packed snow and the ground called the subnivean zone, in which small animals take refuge during the coldest months of the year.

    Tales of Snow and Blue Horses

  • Through Heinrich's words we understand that things are lively under the snow that the subnivean is a vigorous, biologically fascinating place.

    Five Best

  • Heat rises from the earth and is captured by the snow, keeping the temperatures in this area, called the subnivean zone, close to freezing, even if the temperature above is in single digits, said John Yunger, a professor of environmental biology at Governors State University in University Park. - News

  • Although the season did not start out favorably for skiers and backcountry enthusiasts, it may be having a positive influence on the animals that live under the snow, in an area referred to as the subnivean zone.

    Vail Daily - Top Stories

  • Like other forest inhabitants they use the subnivean and the warmth of trees (a winter tale for another day) to stay warm.

    Rich Wolf: Boulder's Heart-Warming Fleas

  • Episodes of mild weather and wet snow lead to a collapse of the subnivean space and subsequent frost encapsulates food plants in ice, making them unavailable to small mammal herbivores, and even killing plants in some cases [143].

    Phenotypic responses of arctic species to changes in climate and ultraviolet-B radiation

  • Changes in snow depth and texture are very likely to also determine whether warm-blooded small vertebrates will find thermal refuges for resting in snow dens (ptarmigan and hares) or for being active in the subnivean space [170].

    Phenotypic responses of arctic species to changes in climate and ultraviolet-B radiation

  • Animals weighing about seven ounces or less tend to live in the subnivean zone and squirrels are the largest mammal found there.

    Rich Wolf: Colder Boulder and the Subnivian

  • Plants in the "greenhouse of snow" created by the subnivean cavity can start to grow weeks before neighbouring plants covered by deep snow.

    Rich Wolf: Colder Boulder and the Subnivian

  • In the subnivean world, voles and mice stay warm by huddling together in grassy nests.

    Rich Wolf: Colder Boulder and the Subnivian


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  • WotD for 12/06/2013, subnivean

            Snow Fleas
    To Winter they're not giving in
    To slumber in chilly oblivion.
    They cheerfully go
    Underneath the snow
    And, happy there, hop subnivean.

    February 14, 2016

  • Also subnivian.

    February 14, 2016