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Open AccessArticle

Changes in Snow Depth, Snow Cover Duration, and Potential Snowmaking Conditions in Austria, 1961–2020—A Model Based Approach

1
Climate Research Department, ZAMG—Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hohe Warte 38, 1190 Vienna, Austria
2
Department of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
3
Department of Geography, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(12), 1330; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121330
Received: 2 October 2020 / Revised: 1 December 2020 / Accepted: 4 December 2020 / Published: 8 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climatological and Hydrological Processes in Mountain Regions)
We used the spatially distributed and physically based snow cover model SNOWGRID-CL to derive daily grids of natural snow conditions and snowmaking potential at a spatial resolution of 1 × 1 km for Austria for the period 1961–2020 validated against homogenized long-term snow observations. Meteorological driving data consists of recently created gridded observation-based datasets of air temperature, precipitation, and evapotranspiration at the same resolution that takes into account the high variability of these variables in complex terrain. Calculated changes reveal a decrease in the mean seasonal (November–April) snow depth (HS), snow cover duration (SCD), and potential snowmaking hours (SP) of 0.15 m, 42 days, and 85 h (26%), respectively, on average over Austria over the period 1961/62–2019/20. Results indicate a clear altitude dependence of the relative reductions (−75% to −5% (HS) and −55% to 0% (SCD)). Detected changes are induced by major shifts of HS in the 1970s and late 1980s. Due to heterogeneous snowmaking infrastructures, the results are not suitable for direct interpretation towards snow reliability of individual Austrian skiing resorts but highly relevant for all activities strongly dependent on natural snow as well as for projections of future snow conditions and climate impact research. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; snow; seasonal snow cover model; SNOWGRID; snow depth; seasonal snow cover duration; European Alps climate change; snow; seasonal snow cover model; SNOWGRID; snow depth; seasonal snow cover duration; European Alps
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MDPI and ACS Style

Olefs, M.; Koch, R.; Schöner, W.; Marke, T. Changes in Snow Depth, Snow Cover Duration, and Potential Snowmaking Conditions in Austria, 1961–2020—A Model Based Approach. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 1330. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121330

AMA Style

Olefs M, Koch R, Schöner W, Marke T. Changes in Snow Depth, Snow Cover Duration, and Potential Snowmaking Conditions in Austria, 1961–2020—A Model Based Approach. Atmosphere. 2020; 11(12):1330. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121330

Chicago/Turabian Style

Olefs, Marc; Koch, Roland; Schöner, Wolfgang; Marke, Thomas. 2020. "Changes in Snow Depth, Snow Cover Duration, and Potential Snowmaking Conditions in Austria, 1961–2020—A Model Based Approach" Atmosphere 11, no. 12: 1330. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121330

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