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date: 06 December 2022

Elevation-Dependent Climate Change in the European Alpslocked

Elevation-Dependent Climate Change in the European Alpslocked

  • Michael KuhnMichael KuhnInstitute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck
  •  and Marc OlefsMarc OlefsCentral Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), Austria

Summary

Elevation-dependent climate change has been observed in the European Alps in the context of global warming and as a consequence of Alpine orography. It is most obvious in elevation-dependent warming, conveniently defined as the linear regression of the time series of temperatures against elevation, and it reaches values of several tenths of a degree per 1,000 m elevation per decade. Observed changes in temperature have forced changes in atmospheric pressure, water vapor, cloud condensation, fluxes of infrared and solar radiation, snow cover, and evaporation, which have affected the Alpine surface energy and water balance in different ways at different elevations. At the same time, changes in atmospheric aerosol optical depth, in atmospheric circulation, and in the frequency of weather types have contributed to the observed elevation-dependent climate change in the European Alps. To a large extent, these observations have been reproduced by model simulations.

Subjects

  • Hydrological Cycle
  • Climate of the European Alps

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