Good news for skiers: winters at Austria’s Ischgler Idalpe have become colder over the past 30 years
By Die kalte Sonne
(Text translated by P Gosselin)
New report shows Austrian winters have ignored global warming. Image cropped Zukunft Skisport.
The Austrian Paznaun is a valley in the far west of North Tyrol with an altitude of 900-1800 meters above sea level.
The region thrives on tourism, especially skiing, which generates more than 2 million overnight stays annually. For this reason, hosts and visitors have a special interest in the effects of climate change in Paznaun.
What are the current trends? In November 2018, ski tourism researcher Günther Aigner presented a study in which he closely examined winter trends using the official series of measurements. The pdf of the work can be downloaded free of charge from the web platform “Zukunft Skisport“, where further studies are also available.
Here is the short version of what he found:
The winters in the Paznaun since 1895: An analysis of official winter temperature and snow measurement series
The winters on the Ischgler Idalpe have become colder in the past 30 years. At the ZAMG station (Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics), winter temperatures fell in a linear trend from minus 4.8 to minus 6.1 degrees Celsius – that is: by 1.3 degrees. Seven of the last ten winters were colder than the 30-year average.
However, no significant winter temperature changes have been observed on the Paznaun mountains for the past 50 years. In discussions about the course of temperatures in relation to winter sports in Tyrol, the choice of time axis is therefore of great importance. The snow measurements at the ZAMG Galtür station over the last 123 years show no statistically significant trends.
Since 1895/96, the annual number of days with natural snow cover has remained statistically unchanged at an average of 173 days. The highest annual snow heights since 1895/96 also show no statistical change and average 114 cm. Their variability is considerable, as the range goes from only 38cm in winter 2016/17 to 210cm in winter 1998/99.
In the ski area “Silvretta Arena” in Ischgl one could ski on 155 days in the average of the last 32 years. The linear trend is rising. Looking at the official measurement data evaluated in this study, the climatological conditions for winter sports in Paznaundie have remained favorable over the last 30 years. No forecasts for the future can be derived from the evaluations published here.”