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A White Christmas or A Christmas Thaw? – Changes in snow cover depth in German-Polish lowlands during the last decade of December against daily circulation patterns

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Snow cover occurrence in the German-Polish lowlands during the third decade of December in years 1971–2000 was investigated. Synoptic maps and anomaly composite maps for the days with snowfalls and for the thaw days have been constructed based on the daily sea level pressure and 500 hPa geopotential heights data. The decrease in the snow cover depth is related to lows over the east Atlantic and west Europe, causing southwesterly airflow. Three types of circulation favourable for snow cover formation have been distinguished, using the k-means cluster analysis. Two of them cause air advection from the north. The third type is characterized by high pressure gradient and a dynamic, deep low shifting from the west to central Europe.

Das Vorkommen der Schneedecke während der dritten Dezemberdekade im Deutsch-Polnischen Tiefland im Zeitraum 1971–2000 wurde untersucht. Basierend auf Bodendruckwerten und 500 hPa Geopotential-höhen wurden synoptische Karten und Anomalie-Karten für die Tage mit Schneefällen und die Tage mit Schneeschmelze erstellt. Die Schneeschmelze hängt mit den Tiefs über dem Ostatlantik und über Westeuropa zusammen, die einen Zustrom von Luftmassen aus dem Südwesten verursachen. Unter Verwendung der k-means Clusteranalyse wurden drei Zirkulationstypen unterschieden, die die Bildung der Schneedecke begünstigen. Zwei von ihnen sind mit Luftadvektion aus dem Norden verbunden. Der dritte Typ charakterisiert sich durch starke Druckgradienten und durch ein dynamisches Tief, das aus dem Westen durch Mitteleuropa wandert.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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  • Meteorologische Zeitschrift (originally founded in 1866) is the joint periodical of the meteorological societies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It accepts high-quality peer-reviewed manuscripts on all aspects of observational, theoretical and computational research out of the entire field of meteorology, including climatology. Meteorologische Zeitschrift represents a natural forum for the meteorological community of Central Europe and worldwide.
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