Alps are an important geographical area of the European continent and, in this area, temperature increase is most evident. However, the 1991–2020 climate normal in the Alps has still not been thoroughly investigated. Aiming to fill this gap with a focus on high-elevation environments, minimum and maximum daily air temperature acquired by 23 automatic weather station were used. The results show that the mean annual values of minimum and maximum temperature for the 1991–2020 climate normal in the Alps are −2.4°C and 4.4°C, respectively, with a warming rate of 0.5°C/10 years. The mean annual temperature comparison between 1961–1990 and 1971–2000, 1961–1990 and 1981–2010, 1961–1990 and 1991–2020 climate normal show an increase of 0.3°C, 0.5°C and 0.9°C, respectively. The results also confirm that seasonal and annual temperatures are rising through the whole Alpine arc, mainly in summer and autumn. This work highlights that annual minimum and maximum temperature do not seem to be affected by a positive elevation-dependent warming. Instead, a positive elevation-dependent warming in the maximum values of the annual minimum temperature was found. If anthropogenic emissions maintain the trend of the last decades, the expected mean annual temperature of the 2001–2030 climate normal is −0.2°C, with an increase of 0.5°C if compared to the 1991–2020 climate normal and with an increase of 1.5°C if compared to the 1961–1990 climate normal. This study highlights the warming rate that is now present in the European Alps, provides indications on the warming rate that will occur in the coming years and highlights the importance of carrying out investigations that consider not only the last 30-year climate normal, but also the most recent 30-year climate normal by comparing them with each other.
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The authors would like to thank all the public bodies that have made the data available, through their online digital archives. This work was carried out in the framework of the GioMon Project, co-financed by “Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino”.
Open access funding provided by Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (CNR) within the CRUI-CARE Agreement
Availability of Data/Materials: The datasets generated during this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request and within the framework of cooperation agreements and scientific research projects.
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Nigrelli, G., Chiarle, M. 1991–2020 climate normal in the European Alps: focus on high-elevation environments. J. Mt. Sci. 20, 2149–2163 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-023-7951-7