Seasonal trends and temperature dependence of the snowfall/precipitation-day ratio in Switzerland
Article first published online: 14 APR 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 7, April 2011
How to Cite
2011), Seasonal trends and temperature dependence of the snowfall/precipitation-day ratio in Switzerland, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L07703, doi:10.1029/2011GL046976., , , and (
- Issue published online: 14 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 14 APR 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 28 FEB 2011
- Manuscript Received: 3 FEB 2011
- snowfall days;
- climate change;
- snowfall ration
 This paper analyzes the proportion of snowfall days relative to precipitation days, in order to assess the impact of changing temperatures on snowfall, while minimizing the impact of variations in precipitation frequency and intensity. We analyzed the ratio of snowfall days to precipitation days for up to 100 years at 76 meteorological stations, spanning elevations from 200 to 2700 m asl in Switzerland. Our results show clear decreasing trends in snowfall days relative to precipitation days. These decreases are connected to increasing temperatures. The decrease in snowfall days was stronger at lower elevations, i.e., at locations with temperatures closer to the melting point. We observed a baseline seasonal temperature threshold of −2.7°C ± 0.8°C in winter and −3.8°C ± 0.6°C in spring, above which the decrease in snowfall days grew rapidly. From these observations, we developed an empirical model that can be used to evaluate the impact of future temperature increases on snowfall, independent of changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation events.