Climate conditions and consequences for de-icing operations as exemplified by the situation on a motorway and airport at Gardermoen, Norway

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Large amounts of de-icing chemicals are used in the northern hemisphere to maintain winter safety on roads and airports every year. At Gardermoen, potassium formate (KFo) is used on runways, sodium chloride (NaCl) on roads and propylene glycol (PG) for aeroplanes. The total use of de-icing chemicals is an important part of the risk assessment related to water contamination at Gardermoen. The objective of this paper is to examine how climatic factors affect the use of de-icing chemicals through interviews with de-icing operators and by statistical methods using data on climate variables and de-icing operations. A multiple linear regression model shows a good relationship between daily dew point temperature, precipitation, wind speed, number of departures and the use of PG. The results were less promising for the prediction of KFo. This might be explained by the human factor and insufficiency of the standard climate variables to represent the situation near the runway. An analysis of daily downscaled climate change scenarios for the Gardermoen area revealed insufficient detail for any accurate estimates of change in total consumption of de-icing chemicals. The predicted mean increase of 7.6°C during winter does, however, suggest a reduced need for de-icing chemicals in the long term (2071–2100).

Keywords: contaminants, environmental risk, snow, statistical model, winter

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