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ASSESSMENT OF THE POSSIBLE IMPACT OF THE CURRENT CIMATE FLUCTUATIONS ON THE SNOW DENSITY – PRELIMINARY RESULTS

D. Nikolov, C. Dimitrov, L. Bocheva
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

The snow cover is a climatic element, which exerts significant influence on the energy balance and the water circle of the Earth. The exact description of its characteristics is important in each meteorological, climate, hydrological and surface models and especially when assessing the snow water equivalent (SWE) and the threats which it poses. Snow accumulated in the mountain regions from early autumn to late spring is an important water resource, feeding lakes, rivers, reservoirs, groundwater and hydro-electric industry throughout the country and plays a key role as the essential resource for the winter tourism. However, snow is also a relevant hazard – e.g. as avalanches and significant load on buildings and constructions.
Snow is also an indicator of the fluctuating climate, resulting from the change in the regime of winter precipitation and air temperature.
The geographical location of Bulgaria, the peculiarities of the atmospheric circulation, the varied relief and other factors, including the contemporary climate variations, set the patterns for an interesting and varying climate regime of the snow cover on the territory of the country and especially in the mountain regions.
The goal of this study is to estimate any possible change in the density of the fresh fallen and accumulated snow in Bulgaria. Snow density is the primary factor which determines the SWE and the snow cover stability on mountain slopes. This paper summarizes the preliminary results based on data from 6 meteorological stations (one mountainous and one coastal among them) with regularly measurements of the snow density for a period of at least 40 years. The density of the fresh fallen snow was estimated also by an indirect methods based on the precipitation amount and the height of the snow cover. This method would allow extension of the new snow density estimation to any stations with no direct density measurements.

Keywords: snow density estimation, snow water equivalent, snow variability, climate change


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