Abstract : 3K.18
Snow pack in the Romanian Carpathians under changing climatic conditions

Dana Micu
d_a_n_a_art@yahoo.com
Institute of Geography, Romanian Academy

Snow pack characteristics and its duration are considered key indicators of climatic conditions change in mountain regions, especially during cold season. Deviations in the regime of the main climatic influencing factors (i.e. temperature and precipitation) can provide important information on snow pack variability, under a general warming trend of winter already shown. A study has thus been undertaken on the behavior of snow in the Romanian Carpathians, in particular on the duration of the seasonal snow pack, on the basis of observational data from a number of 15 weather stations. Mann-Kendall statistics have been used in order to assess the trend significance in analyzed variables and a standardized winter index was calculated in order to group wintertime into severity classes over 43 years of meteorological observations (1961-2003). A strong correlation has been determined between snow-cover duration and altitude, following a specific behavior according to winter types. The present work focuses on the changes in snow pack behavior as a consequence of temperature increase, detected at the end of 20th century, within Romanian Carpathians, above 1,000 m altitude. The results show not only this fact but also the close relationship between the snow cover decrease and the negative departure of temperature under the dynamics in general circulation patterns and the variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).