Snowfall and Snow Depth in Switzerland
Marty, C. and Blanchet, J. 2012. Long-term changes in annual maximum snow depth and snowfall in Switzerland based on extreme value statistics. Climatic Change 111: 705-721.
In an effort to learn to what extent these predictions may or may not have been in process of fulfillment in Switzerland over the past eight decades, Marty and Blanchet computed annual maximum snow depth (HSmax) and annual maximum new snow amount over three successive days (HN3max) for each of 25 measurement stations located at altitudes ranging from 200 to 2500 meters asl, based on data collected during the last 80 winters (1930/1931 to 2009/2010), after which, as they describe it, "the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution with time as a covariate [was] used to asses such trends." And what did they find?
The two Swiss researchers from the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research at Davos say their "analysis of extreme snow depth and extreme snowfall" revealed that "none of the stations, not even the highest one at 2,500 m asl, has experienced significant (p<0.05) increasing extreme amounts during the last 80 years." Quite to the contrary, in fact, they report that "almost half (44%) of the stations reveal a significantly decreasing trend of extreme snow depth," while "the other half showed no significant trends." In addition, their GEV analysis indicated that "all stations show decreasing tendencies for HSmax." And last of all, in harmony with these findings, they indicate that several other studies have shown that "mean snow depth and snow days have been decreasing in the Alps in the last 20 years (Marty, 2008; Durand et al., 2009; Valt and Cianfarra, 2010), especially at altitudes below 1,300 m (Laternser and Schneebeli, 2003; Scherrer et al., 2004)."
Clearly, the predictions of the IPCC regarding a propensity for more extreme precipitation events to occur in a warming world has not been seen in Switzerland. In fact, just the opposite appears to be the case there.
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Laternser, M. and Schneebeli, M. 2003. Long-term snow climate trends of the Swiss Alps (1931-99). International Journal of Climatology 23: 733-750.
Marty, C. 2008. Regime shift of snow days in Switzerland. Geophysical Research Letters 35: 10.1029/2008GL033998.
Scherrer, S.C., Appenzeller, C. and Laternser, M. 2004. Trends in Swiss Alpine snow days: the role of local- and large-scale climate variability. Geophysical Research Letters 31: 10.1029/2004GL020255.
Valt, M. and Cianfarra, P. 2010. Recent snow cover variability in the Italian Alps. Cold Regions Science and Technology 64: 146-157.