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WeatherBlog for freeriders 18/2011 | Little accumulation on glaciers and onset of winter

WeatherBlog for freeriders 18/2011

by Lea Hartl 04/14/2011
Glaciology is a specialty of meteorology. Glaciologists go to "their" glaciers twice a year and dig holes in order to later determine the mass balance. To do this, they need helpers, usually students, who lend a hand with digging and carrying various pieces of equipment.

Despite temperatures of sometimes over 30° C in the valleys, we still found powder snow on the north-facing glaciers for one or two turns. Picture from 9.04.2011

Glaciology is a specialist field of meteorology. Glaciologists go to their glaciers twice a year to dig holes in order to later determine the mass balance. To do this, they need helpers, usually students, who lend a hand with digging and carrying various pieces of equipment.

These helpers are called glacier or measuring servants, with the emphasis on servants. They walk around the glacier for a few days, covering as much of it as possible, sounding out snow depths and digging shafts at selected points. The shafts are holes measuring 2 by 3 to 4 meters, down to last year's firn layer, i.e. in a coarser sense to "the ice."

Some glaciers are notorious among the miners, the Dachstein glacier, for example, where the shafts can be 7 meters deep and you have to dig a hole like that first. The Jamtalferner in the Silvretta, on the other hand, is rather moderate, the deepest shaft is usually just under 5 meters. Last weekend it was 3.20 meters, and the accumulation is about 2 meters below average. This makes it easier for the miners, but unfortunately these two meters are missing not only on the glaciers but generally in the Tyrolean mountains.

Summery temperatures at the weekend

Last week's heat, which was almost 30 degrees in places, made short work of the remaining snow and banished what was left of winter to the high mountains. As has often been the case this season, the weekend looked as if someone had mistaken two months and confused the beginning of April with the beginning of June. Only the rather strong wind blew the one or other park skier away and delayed the morning's snowmaking a little.

Cold front brought snow and cooling

On Tuesday (12.4.2011), a shortwave trough pushed a striking cold front into the middle of summer and provided the current cooling. On Wednesday morning, the Inn Valley was covered in snow almost down to the valley floor, with 30 cm and more accumulating in the north and north-west, so far the Arlberg region in particular has benefited, and the Kitzsteinhorn has also fared well. The western Alps were, well, too westerly. With poor visibility, strong winds across the board on Wednesday made for an exciting mix of blown-off ice slabs and sudden surprise powder turns, which was not very conducive to skiing elegance.

Outlook - 14-20.04.2011

Thursday will continue to be changeable, with showers in the eastern Alps expected to bring a few more centimetres. Friday will be increasingly sunny, more so in the west than in the east and more so in the east than in the south. The weekend will generally be quite sunny north of the main ridge and temperatures will slowly rise again, so not too bad conditions for the weekend warriors among us. It's unclear whether there will be some more snow from the south at the weekend, but it doesn't look like it at the moment. Next week will probably be warm and sunny again.

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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