Snow cover greatly influences the climate in the Alpine region and is one of the most relevant parameters for the climate change analysis. Nevertheless, snow precipitation variability is a relatively underexplored field of research because of the lack of long-term, continuous and homogeneous time series. After a historical research aiming to recover continuous records, three high quality time series of snow precipitation and snow depth recorded in the southwestern Italian Alps were analyzed. The comparison between the climatological indices over the 30 years reference period 1971–2000 and the decade 2000–2009 outlined a general decrease in the amount of snow precipitation, and a shift in the seasonal distribution of the snow precipitation in the most recent period. In the analysis of the last decade snow seasons characteristics, the attention was focused on the heavy snowfalls that occurred in Piedmont during the 2008–2009 snow season: MODerate resolution Imager Spectroradiometer (MODIS) snow cover products were used to evaluate snow cover extension at different times during the snow season, and the results were set in relation to the temperatures
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