Publication details

Severity of winters in the Czech Republic during the 1961–2021 period and related environmental impacts and responses



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source International Journal of Climatology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords circulation types; Czech Republic; damage; fatalities; severe weather; snow depth; snowfall; temperature; traffic accidents; winter
Description This paper analyses temperature and snow patterns of winters (December–February) averaged for the territory of the Czech Republic during the 1961–2021 period and their broad environmental impacts and responses. Series of mean, maximum, minimum, absolute maximum and absolute minimum temperatures show significant increasing linear trends, while decreasing trends were detected in numbers of frost, ice and extremely cold days, duration of cold waves, snowfall days, sums of heights of new snow, days with snow depths ?1 cm, mean and maximum snow depths. The winter severity, derived from five temperature and five snow variables and expressed by temperature/snow scores, indicates decreasing severity of winters for 1961–2021, in which temperature severity is more pronounced than that of snow. Decreasing winter severity is in line with decreasing frequency of cyclonic and directional circulation types according to objective classification, while the trend in anticyclonic types was opposite. Types with maritime airflow from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean contribute to milder and types with continental airflow from the east to colder winters. The coldest winters, 1962/1963 and 1984/1985, and the mildest winters, 2006/2007 and 2019/2020, were analysed in greater detail. Concerning of different analysed environmental impacts, they are influenced not only by severe winter weather, but also by political, socioeconomic and general environmental changes in the country. In line with decreasing winter severity were only statistically significant decreasing trends in proportions of traffic accidents connected with snow and glaze ice on the roads and volumes of damaged wood due to high weights of snow and ice deposit, expressed as salvage felling. Series of other environmental impacts (e.g., fatalities attributed to weather, impacts on the economy and society) reflect rather severity of individual winters and express high interannual variability without any representative trends.
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