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Snow-albedo feedback and Swiss spring temperature trends

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Scherrer S., Ceppi P., Croci-Maspoli M., Appenzeller C.,
Project Global Change and Mountain Regions: the Mountain Research Initiative Coordination Office
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Title of proceedings Theoretical and Applied Climatology
DOI 10.1007/s00704-012-0712-0


We quantify the effect of the snow-albedo feedback on Swiss spring temperature trends using daily temperature and snow depth measurements from six station pairs for the period 1961–2011. We show that the daily mean 2-m temperature of a spring day without snow cover is on average 0.4 °C warmer than one with snow cover at the same location. This estimate is comparable with estimates from climate modelling studies. Caused by the decreases in snow pack, the snow-albedo feedback amplifies observed temperature trends in spring. The influence is small and confined to areas around the upward-moving snow line in spring and early summer. For the 1961–2011 period, the related temperature trend increases are in the order of 3–7 % of the total observed trend .