Geografie 2016, 121, 493-520

Variability of snow cover and frost depth at the Potsdam station, Germany

Małgorzata Szwed1, Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz1,2, Abdelkader Mezghani3

1Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Poland
2Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
3Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway

Received July 2015
Accepted May 2016

The presented paper examines variability of characteristics of snow cover (snow cover depth, number of days with snow cover and dates of beginning and end of snow cover) and frost depth in Potsdam. The study makes use of a unique long time series of data from the secular meteorological station in Potsdam (Germany), covering the time interval from 1893 to date. The observed behaviour of time series of snow is complex, and not easy to interpret. Even if shrinking snow cover is typically expected in the warming climate of the moderate zone, the change in Potsdam is largely dominated by inter-winter and intra-winter variability, rendering trend detection difficult. Nevertheless, an increasing, statistically significant trend for winter precipitation was detected with almost no changes in the snow fall. A statistical link between the NAO index and the snow cover depth as well as the number of snow cover days was found.


The research reported in this paper was carried out within the CHASE-PL (Climate change impact assessment for selected sectors in Poland) project No. POL-NOR/200799/90/2014 of the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme. The data used stem from the Potsdam secular station.


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