Climate change is also throwing a spanner in the works of white Christmas this year. According to the ZAMG forecast, a very mild weather situation with plus temperatures is emerging for the week before Christmas Eve.
There will probably be no white Christmas this year either; the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) cautiously predicted a week and a half before the holiday. The Christmas holidays in Austria have become warmer by an average of one to 2.5 degrees in recent decades, and the chance of a white Christmas has dropped by 30 to 60 percent at low altitudes, according to an evaluation by ZAMG.
The chance of a white Christmas in 2022 is relatively low, according to ZAMG
Global warming is also having a significant impact on festive weather in Austria. “Of course, there are large fluctuations from year to year, but in the long term, there is a clear trend toward increasingly milder temperatures at Christmas,” said Alexander Orlik of ZAMG. “For example, if you compare the average temperature on December 24, 25, and 26 in the period 1961 to 1990 with the period 1991 to 2020, you can see a warming of about one to two and a half degrees in the provincial capitals of Austria, for example.”
The temperature in the lowlands of Austria there is more and more often above zero degrees. Precipitation is more likely to fall as rain or snow melts more quickly. An exact forecast for the weather and the snow situation for this year’s celebration is not yet possible, stressed the ZAMG. For the middle of next week, a very mild weather situation is currently emerging, with plus temperatures even on many mountains. According to the current forecast, a cold front could bring significantly colder air to Austria shortly before the Christmas holidays.
White Christmas in Vienna only every four to six years
“The chance of a white Christmas has decreased by 30 percent in Innsbruck, Salzburg and Graz in recent decades, by 40 percent in Bregenz, Linz and Klagenfurt, by 50 percent in St. Pölten and Vienna, and by 60 percent in Eisenstadt,” Orlik explained. Snow cover (at least one centimetre of snow depth at more than 50 percent of the observation site) on December 24, 25 or 26 has become relatively rare in almost all provincial capitals.
Statistically, Vienna, Eisenstadt, St. Pölten and Linz have a closed snow cover of at least one centimetre at Christmas only every four to six years. Bregenz, Graz and Klagenfurt are white on average every third year. The best chances are in Innsbruck and Salzburg, where Christmas is statistically white every two to three years.
Snow records at Christmas already date back decades
If you are looking for Christmas snow records, you must return to the data. The Innsbruck Airport weather station holds the Christmas record for all provincial capitals with 96 centimetres of snow on December 24, 1962. The other local capital snow records for Christmas were 55 centimetres at Graz Airport on December 25, 1994, and 50 centimetres in St. Pölten on December 24. December 1969, 47 centimetres in Klagenfurt in 1994, 40 centimetres in Salzburg on December 24, 1962, 39 centimetres in Eisenstadt on December 24, 1969, 47 centimetres in Vienna Mariabrunn on December 24, 1969, 26 centimetres in Bregenz on December 26, 1969, and in Linz (airport) the record snow height is 25 centimetres on December 25, 1969.
The cold records are also far behind. In the Austria-wide evaluation of all ZAMG weather stations below 1,400 meters above sea level, the complex form is minus 29.0 degrees in Tamsweg in Salzburg on December 26, 1944. Extreme was also in 1962 when the temperature was minus 19.8 degrees on December 25 in Vils in the Tyrolean district of Reutte. In Kitzbühel, it was minus 27.9 degrees at night from December 24 to 25, 1962. The Salzburg Airport weather station holds the Christmas warmth record for all of Austria with 19.1 degrees plus on December 25, 2013.