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Search for: [Abstract = "Mountain areas are ecosystems very vulnerable to fluctuations and changes of climate. As a consequence, research into climate and climate change in Poland’s Karkonosze and Tatra Mountains has been ongoing for several years now, and has already yielded essential information regarding these highest ranges in Poland. However, there remains a paucity of research comparing features of climate in the two chains of mountains. In consequence, the work detailed here has sought to compare key climate characteristics in these ranges, as well as their seasonal and multiannual changes over the period 1951‒2015. The research is based on daily meteorological records from within the network of Poland’s Institute of Meteorology and Water Management – National Research Institute. In the case of the Karkonosze Mts., it was the meteorological stations at Śnieżka \(Ś, 1603 m a.s.l.\) and Jelenia Góra \(JG, 344 m a.s.l.\) that were chosen\; while in the Tatras the selected stations were on Kasprowy Wierch \(KW, 1990 m a.s.l.\) and in Zakopane \(Z, 857 m a.s.l.\). Additionally, the station at Hala Gąsienicowa \(HG, 1520 m a.s.l.\) was considered in line with data available for the shorter 1981‒2015 period. The research took account of daily data on air temperature, relative humidity of the air, wind speed, precipitation and snow cover. Specifically, the climate characteristics calculated and analysed by reference to mean multiannual, yearly and seasonal values related to air temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, precipitation totals and maximum snow depth. Further analysis related to numbers of days with precipitation and snow cover, as well as numbers of days with specific air temperatures described as hot \(Tmax >25°C\), frosty \(Tmax <0°C\), very frosty \(Tmin<\-10°C\) and icy \(Tmax<\-10°C\). Several climate similarities and differences between the Tatra and Karkonosze Mts. were found to include\: 1. mean annual altitudinal gradients for air temperature that are similar for the Tatras \(\-0.53°C per 100 m\) and the Karkonosze \(\-0.55°C\/100 m\), 2. the coldest month at the bottoms of both ridges being January, and the warmest July\; while top stations feature a 1\-month delay, in the sense that February and August are the coldest and warmest months respectively, 3. differing altitudinal gradients of maximum temperature, with the Tatras reporting \-0.77°C per 100 m and the Karkonosze – \-0. 88°C\/100 m, 4. yearly precipitation totals and altitudinal precipitation gradients that are significantly less well\-marked in the Karkonosze than in the Tatras \(respectively 1212 and 1721 mm, as well as 38.0 and 52.9 mm per 100 m\), 5. more precipitation days on Śnieżka than Kasprowy Wierch \(237 v 227\), 6. relative humidity of air that is highest in autumn and winter below the two ranges, while being highest at the summits in summer, 7. a wind speed in the Karkonosze that is higher than in the Tatras\; i.e. 12.2 v 6.6 m\/s at the summits, and 2.5 and 1.4 m\/s respectively down below, 8. snow cover of 218 days duration at the top of the Tatra Mts., as opposed to 187 days on Mt. Śnieżka. The study also considered multiannual changes in elements of climate over the 1951–2015. Trends achieving statistical significance \(with 99, 95% or 90% confidence levels\) were confined to just some of the characteristics and stations. Nevertheless, the Tatra and Karkonosze Mts. have experienced an increase in mean annual air temperature – respectively of 0.20–0.27 and 0.22–0.40°C each consecutive 10\-year period. Significant changes were also observed for maximum temperature, Tmax equal to 0.35–0.36°C per 10 years in the Tatras and 0.4–0.5°C per decade in the Karkonosze. In the case of precipitation totals the only significant change in value is that noted for Śnieżka top, where the trend is a downward one equal to some 71 mm per 10 years. Where snow cover was concerned, the only effect was a slight decrease in the number of snowy days recorded at Zakopane, located just below the Tatra Mountains"]

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