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Durability of snow cover and its long-term variability in the Western Sudetes Mountains

Urban, Grzegorz, Richterová, Dáša, Kliegrová, Stanislava, Zusková, Ilona
Theoretical and applied climatology 2019 v.137 no.3-4 pp. 2681-2695
altitude, durability, mountains, snowpack, winter, Poland
This paper presents the results of the analysis of the Western Sudetes’ snow cover temporal and spatial changes, as well as it demonstrates the research on the long-term trends in the changes of snow cover durability. In order to conduct the study, the coefficient of snow cover durability (V) was used, which was defined as the quotient of the actual and the potential time of snow cover duration and expressed in percentage (1–100%). Moreover, the frequency of total disappearance of snow cover was established for the optimal winter season (December–March). Measurement data were obtained from 17 stations in the 1961–2015 period. The snow cover on the Western Sudetes’ slopes with southern (S) macro-exposure lasts longer (has greater durability) than on the slopes in analogous altitude zones with northern (N) macro-exposure. At the altitudinal level of 600–700 m a.s.l., where the differences are the biggest, the average V values range from 60% at stations N to 75% in stations S. In the analysed area, excluding the upper ranges, slight negative trends in V changes have been noted. Snow cover persists for a shorter and shorter time. For the substantial majority of the stations, the trends in these changes are not statistically significant at the 0.05 level of statistical significance. They refer to the tendencies in other mountainous regions in Poland and Europe. Analogously, the stations with S macro-exposure, located at similar altitudes as stations with N macro-exposure, are characterised by two to three times lesser frequency of total disappearance of snow cover. Coefficient V is negatively correlated with the total disappearance of snow cover. At the stations with S macro-exposure in the Western Sudetes, these correlations are usually strong or very strong, whereas at the stations with N macro-exposure, at similar altitudes, they are usually moderate or very weak.