Snow Depth and Duration Rapidly Decreasing Across the Entire European Alps

The Cryosphere, March 18

The first Alpine-wide analysis of snow trends, based on in situ measurements from six Alpine countries has revealed a significant decrease in snow. The snow season or duration has shrunk by 22-34 days in the region; with a decline in snow depth of around 40%, or 8.4% on average every decade, over the last 50 years. These new results provide the most comprehensive spatial coverage of decreases in snow due to climate change in the European Alps to date, focusing on altitudes below 2000 m (there are insufficient measuring stations above that level). Higher temperatures have clearly resulted in an overall reduction in snow cover throughout the region; directly impacting alpine hydrology, water reserves, agriculture, tourism and hydropower generation.