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WeatherBlog 12 2021/22 | Spring intermezzo

Windy rollercoaster of weather conditions

by Lea Hartl 02/09/2022
February develops a "Febrile" character and brings us a few days of mild, very spring-like weather before it becomes more unsettled and cooler again towards the weekend. Deep winter cold is not in sight, the snow hopes are focused on "mountain winter" due to westerly weather.

Current situation and outlook

The basis for our weather is currently a strong, roughly westerly current. Embedded in this, fronts and intermediate highs alternate in relatively rapid succession. An extension of the Azores High will bring us early spring fever today (Wednesday) and tomorrow with temperatures well into the double digits in the valleys, a corresponding zero degree limit on the other side and plenty of sunshine. On Friday, it is likely to get cooler and a little wetter again, although "cooler" is still relatively mild for February. The corresponding front will reach the Alps from the northwest and bring a little fresh snow to the NW congested areas. That's probably not enough for a PowderAlert.

The weekend looks sunny across the board - the high-pressure influence will prevail again. In contrast to the current situation, however, the Alps are more on the edge and not in the middle, so there is still some uncertainty and it is unlikely to remain clear everywhere. At the beginning of next week, the chances of snow will increase with a north-westerly situation currently indicated in the models - that would be the mountain winter mentioned at the beginning. It won't be particularly cold, but from today's point of view, it's quite conceivable that the higher elevations will get some additional snow, of course with the usual range of fluctuation. In the even more distant forecast range from the middle of next week, there are signs of a massive storm situation which, if it arrives in anything like its current form, would result in very high wind speeds with damage potential.

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Wind records with cold front on Monday, warm winter 2021/22

When looking back at the weather over the past few days, one thing that stands out is the extremely high wind speeds that were reached with the cold front on Monday. In Innsbruck, there was even a new record for the not particularly exposed station at the university with 115km/h (the WeatherBlog has a NW-facing bedroom window on the seventh floor and almost fell out of bed because the gusts cracked the window, which was no longer brand new). In the mountains, some stations recorded over 150km/h. The situation was similar in Switzerland - MeteoSwiss has dedicated a blog to storm Roxana with some background information.

Other than that, it's the temperatures that are currently worth noting once again. The meteorological winter (December, January, February) 2021/22 is heading for a top 10 placement in the ranking of the warmest winters in recorded history. In keeping with this, the ZAMG has presented the results of a climatological study mentioned here before in a interactive graphic in a rather appealing and striking way. The study investigated how the snow situation in Austria would change if the 2°C target of the Paris Climate Conference was met, compared to the development in a scenario without extensive emission reductions. The study has a certain focus on winter sports and also includes "snowmaking capacity", i.e. the expected temperatures and wet bulb temperatures at different altitudes.

The ZAMG summarizes for altitudes around 1000m:

"Without global climate protection ("the fossil way"), the duration of the natural snow cover will decrease by 70 percent by 2100. This means that only around 30 days of snow cover can be expected per winter.

If the Paris Climate Agreement is adhered to ("unavoidable climate change, 2-degree path"), the duration of snow cover will decrease by 25 percent by 2100. This would mean around 60 days of snow cover per winter, twice as many as without climate protection.

The atmospheric conditions for technical snowmaking at this altitude will decrease by 50 percent without climate protection and by 15 percent if the Paris target is met."

Whether or not "snowmaking" is important to you personally, this shows once again that it is by no means "too late anyway" to limit the effects of climate change on our winters!"

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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