Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 153-156


Climate Variability and High Altitude Temperature and Precipitation

  • Mathias VuilleAffiliated withDepartment of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York Email author 


High altitude temperature and precipitation variability: It is the inherent characteristic of precipitation and temperature to change over time. Variability is measured as the temperature or precipitation deviations (anomalies) over a given period of time from a climate statistic (long-term mean) averaged over a reference period.


Mountains give rise to very distinct climates at their highest peaks where glaciers exist, and this mountain climate varies in ways that is quite different from nearby low elevations. Mountain-induced dynamic and thermodynamic processes modify synoptic weather systems and create regional-scale atmospheric circulation regimes that generate distinct wind systems, cloudiness, Precipitation patterns, etc., and lead to a very unique mountain climate (e.g., Barry, 2008). However, climate variability at high altitude (including temperature and precipitation variability) is not nearly as well understood as similar variations ...

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