EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Future perspectives of natural and technical snow in Austria

Andreas Gobiet1, Bruno Abbeg2, Roland Koch1, Marc Olefs1, Vanessa Seitner1, Ulrich Strasser3, and Michael Warscher3
Andreas Gobiet et al.
  • 1ZAMG - Austrian Central Office for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Graz, Austria (
  • 2Institute for systemic management und public governance, University St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • 3Institute for Geography, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Despite the large socio-economic and ecologic relevance of snow in Austria, no comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change on snow in Austria existed until recently. Within the project „Future Snow Cover Evolution in Austria” (FuSE-AT, gridded observational datasets and the national climate scenarios (ÖKS15) have been extended by basic variables and user oriented indicators around the topic snow. This has been realized by developing a gridded snow model for climatological time-scales, based on the operational snow model of ZAMG (SNOWGRID-CL) and driving it with gridded meteorological datasets for the past (1961 – 2019) and with the full ensemble of ÖKS15 (including the emission pathways RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) into the future (1961 – 2100)  to generate daily snow variables on a 1 km x 1 km grid. The results are available for users via the Data Centre of the Climate Change Centre Austria (

This new dataset includes snow water equivalent, snow depth, new snow, run-off from snow melt and the number of hours with suitable meteorological conditions for technical snow generation (using different wet-bulb-temperatures as threshold criteria). In addition, numerous user-oriented indicators have been analyzed. In close cooperation with stakeholders from the sectors winter tourism, hydropower generation and water supply, case studies to demonstrate socio-economically relevant  applications of this new dataset have been conducted.

The results show that the natural snow season length has significantly decreased already in the past in virtually all areas and altitude levels of Austria. Future scenarios of snow heavily depend on the emission pathway. The snow season length is expected to decrease by about three weeks (corresponds to -20% to -30% around 1500 m a.s.l.) until the mid-21st century in all scenarios, but it stabilizes on this level in RCP2.6, while it drastically further decreases in RCP8.5 to losses around -80% to -90% below 1500 m a.s.l. Further, we could demonstrate that the meteorological potential for generation of technical snow responds less sensitive to climate change than natural snow, but strongly depends on  altitude, exposition, time horizon and emission pathway. More detailed results will be given in the presentation.

How to cite: Gobiet, A., Abbeg, B., Koch, R., Olefs, M., Seitner, V., Strasser, U., and Warscher, M.: Future perspectives of natural and technical snow in Austria, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11753,, 2022.