Less mass of snow, but average snow depth. Due to snowfall events in April, the relative fresh snow was not packed than normal in May. Therefore, snow depth is on average but the snow density is lower. This results in 1570 mm w.e. a-1 for Goldbergkees and 1210 mm w.e a-1 for Kleinfleißkees or 10 % less masses of snow for the winter 2016/17 than on average.
The snowpackmodel SNOWGRID from ZAMG shows that the average snowpack of Sonnblick glaciers are not representative for major areas of Austria. The meteorological winter (December, January and February) was very dry and the precipitation in April was rain up to low mountain range due to warm weather conditions. As a result, the cumulated sums of fresh snow for major parts of Austria were well below average for the hydrological winter (October 2016 - April 2017).
Cumulated sums of fresh snow for the hydrological winter 2016/17 for Austria (snowpackmodel SNOWGRID from ZAMG).
Snow depth measurements for Goldbergkees and Kleinfleißkees. Big circles are snow pits and small circles are measurements with probes. Green presents low snow depth and red high snow depth.
Time series for winter mass balance of Goldbergkees and Kleinfleiskees.
Snow density measurement in a snow pit (photo: G. Weyss).