Widespread and Accelerated Decrease of Observed Mean and Extreme Snow Depth Over Europe

A. Fontrodona Bach, G. van der Schrier, L.A. Melsen, A.M.G. Klein Tank, A.J. Teuling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Accumulated snow amounts are a key climate change indicator. It combines the competing effects of climate change-driven changes in precipitation and stronger snowmelt related to increasing temperatures. Here we provide observational evidence from a pan-European in situ data set that mean snow depth generally decreases stronger than extreme snow depth. Widespread decreases in maximum and mean snow depth were found over Europe, except in the coldest climates, with an average decrease of −12.2%/decade for mean snow depth and −11.4%/decade for maximum snow depth since 1951. These trends accelerated after the 1980s. This has strong implications for the availability of freshwater in spring, while extremes in snow depth, usually very disruptive to society, are decreasing at a slower pace.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018


  • acceleration
  • decreasing
  • Europe
  • snow depth
  • widespread


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