Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 122, Issue 3–4, pp 619–634 | Cite as

Temperature changes in the North-Western Italian Alps from 1961 to 2010

  • Fiorella Acquaotta
  • Simona Fratianni
  • Diego GarzenaEmail author
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to identify any possible temperature changes within the last 50 years in the North-Western Italian Alps by examining data from 16 high-altitude weather stations in the period 1961–2010. The daily temperature time series were collected, digitized and subjected to a historical research to individuate discontinuities and retrieve metadata. We also carried out the data quality control and the homogenization which allowed the climatic indices trend detection. The analysis of the temperature values showed an increase in temperature, particularly at high-altitudes sites. In fact, the stations located above 1600 m asl revealed a rise in temperatures and a decrease in the number of cold periods. For the maximum temperatures, greater increases in spring and winter have been observed, for minimum temperatures in the summer. These trends confirm that climate change is occurring in an environment particularly sensitive to temperature changes, especially during the season of snow accumulation and vegetative growth. These results may be important for policy makers to define the best adaptation strategies in order to protect one of the most sensitive environments such as mountains.


Minimum Temperature Snow Depth North Atlantic Oscillation Alpine Region Surface Mass Balance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The recovery and digitization of daily data of maximum and minimum temperatures was made in the frame of the Italian MIUR Project (PRIN 2010-11): “Response of morphoclimatic system dynamics to global changes and related geomorphological hazards” (national coordinator C. Baroni) and Italian research project NextSnow (national coordinator V. Levizzani).

The authors thank Olivier Mestre for the fruitful discussion raised during the work. We gratefully acknowledge the patient work of digitization carried out by Noemi Canevarolo, Silvia Cardona, Matteo Collimedaglia and Daniela Testa. The dataset is available at Earth Sciences Department (Responsible: Simona Fratianni).

Finally, the authors thank two anonymous referees for their helpful comments and suggestions to improve deeply the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiorella Acquaotta
    • 1
  • Simona Fratianni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diego Garzena
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversità di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Centro interdipartimentale sui rischi naturali in ambiente montano e collinare, NatRiskGrugliascoItaly

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