Snow variability in the Swiss Alps 1864–2009Simon C. Scherrer, Christian Wüthrich, Mischa Croci-Maspoli, Rolf Weingartner, Christof Appenzeller. Article first published online: 4 FEB 2013 DOI: 10.1002/joc.3653
They analysed data for trend and variability for:
- New snow sums (NSS)
- Maximum new snow (MAXNS)
- Days with snowfall (DWSF)
Our results reveal large decadal variability with phases of low and high values for NSS, DWSF and DWSP. For most stations NSS, DWSF and DWSP show the lowest values recorded and unprecedented negative trends in the late 1980s and 1990s. [...] The fraction of NSS and DWSP in different seasons (autumn, winter and spring) has changed only slightly over the ∼150 year record. Some decreases most likely attributable to temperature changes in the last 50 years are found for spring, especially for NSS at low stations. Both the NSS and DWSP snow indicators show a trend reversal in most recent years (since 2000), especially at low and medium altitudes. This is consistent with the recent ‘plateauing’ (i.e. slight relative decrease) of mean winter temperature in Switzerland and illustrates how important decadal variability is in understanding the trends in key snow indicators.”The study shows snow and temperature are naturally variable and that temperatures in Switzerland, as is the case globally, are no longer rising, and are now trending downwards.