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European Heatwave 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
With prolonged hot, dry weather and record breaking temperatures coming, what effect on the mountains, glaciers, alpine life?
Any SnowHeads out there with eye witness experiences?
Will the mountains act like giant storage heaters and affect next winter season?
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http://www.euronews.com/2018/08/03/sweden-s-melting-mountain
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Well I'm in NZ for a while & the last summer was apparently exceptionally good & they're having a great ski season.
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I predict... there will be weather! Wink Twisted Evil
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Lots of glacier melt in Stubaital and Ötztal nice, with peak flows on the rivers perfectly timed for after work kayaking Cool

Bittersweet as a skier of course, but gotta be good for the river and valley ecosystems. Stubaier glacier has got a lot darker/greyer in the last 7 days...
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The rivers and streams are all in spate here in the Bernese Oberland - there’s been very little rain so it’s all glacier melt. On the other side of the coin there’s still snow in some of the north facing gullies down to about 1700 metres. I don’t think summer weather affects the following winter - there’s plenty of time for everything to cool down.
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There's been a fair bit of rain here. A hot day generally means a heavy thunderstorm in the evening. I can still see snow on the top peaks.
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@PeakyB, mere speculation but I think “heatwaves” have more to do with humans’ limited comfort range than any environmental changes.
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@PeakyB, This was the top of the DMC in Flaine, with Mont Blanc behind, from quite a long way off, (top of corbalanche in Les Carroz), but still snow at just under 2500m, this was about a week ago,



and



Its is all very dry and dusty, apart from the odd thunderstorm.
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PeakyB wrote:
With prolonged hot, dry weather and record breaking temperatures coming, what effect on the mountains, glaciers, alpine life?
Any SnowHeads out there with eye witness experiences?
Will the mountains act like giant storage heaters and affect next winter season?


In answer to your last question, no.
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The real thing to look for is how much of a "blob" forms in the Pacific as that can have a dramatic impact on winter jetstream patterns
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
An extensively warm summer may well mean warmer than Normal sea temperatures going into winter which would mean warmer than normal air temperatures from the west. However that was also true last year and we got one of the best winters of the last 20 years with a preponderance of easterlies. What we do know is that the world is warming, particularly in the higher latitudes and in the medium term that isn’t great news for our sport unfortunately.
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Peter S wrote:
An extensively warm summer may well mean warmer than Normal sea temperatures going into winter which would mean warmer than normal air temperatures from the west. However that was also true last year and we got one of the best winters of the last 20 years with a preponderance of easterlies. What we do know is that the world is warming, particularly in the higher latitudes and in the medium term that isn’t great news for our sport unfortunately.


It was very warm from January - there might have been a lot of snow at altitude but calling it the best winter for 20 years is really over egging the pudding. High altitude resorts got a lot of snow but, at least in the areas I was watching, there were rarely large dumps so often when powder skiing the base was present unless on the fattest skis and almost all fresh snowfall was followed by foehn, high altitude rain, or a thaw so you had to hit the good days when they were there. The end of season was poor - really warm April, spring snow skiing was marred by a frequently pock marked surface due to the high average temperatures such as this:



Normally we get a little winter at the end of the season, not really this year although there was some low level snowfall mid May.

Personally I'd take a bit less snow but a bit colder than last winter. We had poor snow cover below 1500 meters, actually poorer than the previous two winters which if snowless, at least were cold during the winter months. I know conditions were different from range to range, I was surprised by the amount of snow still at the end of April in the Val d'Arly.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The European Alps are melting and drying.

The number of skiable yearround glaciers has collapsed -90% in the past 40 years.

The 2017 / 2018 Winter for the European Alps was among the rainiest in recorded history. Weeks of rain at low and medium altitudes.
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@Whitegold,

"The European Alps are melting and drying" vs "The 17/18 Winter for the European Alps was the rainiest on record"

Discuss!
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Interesting question in that would I like a repeat of last season in terms of snow accumulation and quality?

We skied so many days of powder, way above average and locals were saying best snow for decades, and we were greedy in that we all said that the Spring Ski Touring season would be fantastic with the superb snow cover letting us probably do routes that were not previously on the cards.

The only trouble was that in effect it just warmed up and we did not get the necessary periods of overnight freezes and subsequent snow transformation, invariably it was overcast and temps would steadfastly refuse to drop below freezing.

We did try and tour but the skiing was pretty crap, and I can probably count on one hand the number of descents where we encountered good text book spring snow.

Usually we'd often go off the back of resort and then skin back up, think we did that only once or twice Sad

Ironically my last day of skiing 2018 season was May 7th and that was early morning powder before the day warmed up.

If I could choose from a menu, think I'd opt for 50 % less powder days and a more normal Spring skiing season.

OH next to me says she'd like a repeat of last season, so just goes to show.

Think if my dogs could talk they'd obviously go for less powder and better Spring conditions Toofy Grin
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chocksaway wrote:
@Whitegold,

"The European Alps are melting and drying" vs "The 17/18 Winter for the European Alps was the rainiest on record"

Discuss!

What's there to discuss? One of the two opposite statements were !

The 2nd is a statement of "data". The 1st expression of opinion/prediction. If anyone wants to "discuss" how wrong the 1st part of opinion is, go right ahead...
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chocksaway wrote:
@Whitegold,

"The European Alps are melting and drying" vs "The 17/18 Winter for the European Alps was the rainiest on record"

Discuss!


Climate vs Weather.

Climate

Rainfall for France 1959 to 2009 - clearly the Alps have dried over that time period, with the effect being much more marked the further south you go. For Switzerland there is no clear change in rainfall, for Italy and the Southern French Alps they are drier. You would need a breakdown by month to see what is happening in the winter period.



for the Savoie



Trend is towards years with below the long term average precipitation

temperatures for the Alps



around a 2 / 2.5 degree rise over the last 150 years or the snowline going up around 500 meters on average.

In detail for Bourg St Maurice



Since 1959 the region is +1.8°C over the winter. +2.4°C for December and January and +0.66°C for February. This may explain why season starts are getting worse. This seems to be down to thermal lag - summers are getting much hotter in the Alps compared to winters. The effect of climate change is more marked in mountain regions.




Weather

Rainfall January 2018, France (and see above diagram). Double long term trends. Outlier or new trend?

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@davidof, thanks, interesting data.
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Just poking the troll Very Happy
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Article on We Powder , Driest and warmest period in Swiss alps since 1864

https://wepowder.com/en/forum/topic/258634
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abc wrote:
chocksaway wrote:
@Whitegold,

"The European Alps are melting and drying" vs "The 17/18 Winter for the European Alps was the rainiest on record"

Discuss!

What's there to discuss? One of the two opposite statements were !

The 2nd is a statement of "data". The 1st expression of opinion/prediction. If anyone wants to "discuss" how wrong the 1st part of opinion is, go right ahead...


It is all facts, son.

No opinion.

The Alps have heated up by +1c in the past ~50 years.

All Alpine glaciers are melting.

Alpine snowfall has declined 10-30% in the past ~50 years.

There is less snow.

The Alps are drying up.
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Top post from Davidof.
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Maybe true as a generalisation, but the historical weather observations posted in the museum at Obergurgl, Austria (I cannot seem to meet the technical challenge of posting the photo I took, but the stats are attributed to Zentralanstalt fur Meterologie und Geodynamik) show the winter temperatures at 1938m in that specific locality actually decreasing slightly since 1947, with snowfall remaining roughly the same for the past 30 years (not counting last season's exceptional snowfall, of course).
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Surprised there is any controversy over last season's conditions. Everyone here is raving about how fantastic they were and hoping for a repetition next season.
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tatmanstours wrote:
Surprised there is any controversy over last season's conditions. Everyone here is raving about how fantastic they were and hoping for a repetition next season.


oh god I hope not, rain rain rain, foehn, foehn, foehn foehn around here. Colder would be good. Our last really good winter was 2013 from memory.
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