Original paper

Snow cover duration in Switzerland compared to Austria

Wielke, Lucia-Maria; Haimberger, Leopold; Hantel, Michael

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 13 No. 1 (2004), p. 13 - 17

published: Feb 16, 2004

DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2004/0013-0013

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ArtNo. ESP025011301003, Price: 29.00 €

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The sensitivity of the number of days with snow cover at Swiss climate stations relative to the mean temperature over Europe has been determined for winter and spring. Basic idea is that the natural interannual snow cover fluctuations would be an estimate for a snow cover trend in case of a possible future European temperature trend. A statistical model originally developed for a similar investigation over Austria has been applied to Switzerland. Present data base has been the daily records of 59 Swiss stations between 273 and 3580 m a.s.l. for the years 1961 to 1990. The snow-temperature relation we find can be interpreted as follows: A rise in the European temperature by 1 degree should reduce the duration of snow cover in the Alpine elevations of Switzerland by up to 4 weeks in winter and 5 weeks in spring. This finding is similar to our earlier results for Austria except that the extreme sensitvity is located about 150 m higher in Switzerland than in Austria.