Spatial, Temporal and Intensity Characteristics of Heavy Snowfall Events over Austria
- Cite this article as:
- Spreitzhofer, G. Theor Appl Climatol (1999) 62: 209. doi:10.1007/s007040050085
Statistical aspects of intense snowstorms over Austria are discussed based on the daily fresh snow depth-recordings from a sample of 81 stations over a 19-year period from the 1970/71 to the 1988/89-winter seasons. The study focuses on heavy snowfall events (HSEs) defined as at least a 20 cm-intensity threshold for a 24-hour accumulation of new snow. Calculation of the geometric center of the area experiencing heavy snowfall allows for the estimation of storm spatial characteristics (e.g., its expansion, eccentricity, and the number of stations involved) and the objective assignment of storms to one of four distinct regions, located to the north and south of the Alpine main crest. Temporal characteristics investigated include the annual and seasonal frequencies of HSEs, whereas considerations of intensity put an emphasis on the average and maximum new snow-depth from intense storms. The biggest 24-hour snow accumulation within the period of study was 170 cm, measured at Sillian (Eastern Tyrol) in 1986.