IWA Publishing

Changes in snow depth in Norway during the period 1961–2010


Observed trends in annual maximum snow depth (SD) in Norway are analyzed and examined in the context of changes in winter climate from 1961 until today. Trends are evaluated for the 50-year period (1961–2010) and for three 30-year periods (1961–1990, 1971–2000, 1981–2010). The analyzed dataset is the most extensive and geographically representative for the country so far, and the analysis gives an up-to-date picture of the recent development in snow accumulation. In regions characterized by colder winter climate long-term trends are found to be positive in general, while short-term trends shift from strongly positive in the first period to predominantly negative in the last period. Variation in SD is here mainly linked to variation in precipitation. In regions of warmer winter climate variation in SD is dominated by temperature, and long-term trends are mainly negative. Short-term trends start out weak overall in the first period but become strongly negative most places in the last period. It is likely that, although more and more regions in Norway will experience declining maximum annual SD in a projected wetter and warmer future climate, some inland and higher mountain regions may still accumulate more snow in the coming decades.

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