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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Title of proceedings Theoretical and Applied Climatology
DOI DOI 10.1007/s00704-012-0584-3


Snow and weather observations at Weissfluhjoch were initiated in 1936, when a research team set a snow stake and started digging snow pits on a plateau located at 2,540 m asl above Davos, Switzerland. This was the beginning of what is now the longest series of daily snow depth, new snow height and bi-monthly snow water equivalent measurements from a high-altitude research station. Our investigations reveal that the snow depth at Weissfluhjoch with regard to the evolution and inter-annual variability represents a good proxy for the entire Swiss Alps. In order to set the snow and weather observations from Weissfluhjoch in a broader context, this paper also shows some comparisons with measurements from five other highaltitude observatories in the European Alps. The results show a surprisingly uniform warming of 0.8°C during the last three decades at the six investigated mountain stations. The long-term snow measurements reveal no change in midwinter, but decreasing trends (especially since the 1980s) for the solid precipitation ratio, snow fall, snow water equivalent and snow depth during the melt season due to a strong temperature increase of 2.5°C in the spring and summer months of the last three decades.