Vulnerability information

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The vulnerability information provided here based on a basic traffic light-like ranking with three categories: 'high vulnerability' (+++), 'moderate vulnerability' (++) and 'low vulnerability' (+) is qualitative, not normalized and unweighted. For that reason no final assessment of vulnerability is done. Additionally, vulnerability characterizations colored in grey are not in the scope of this study but relevant for the specific problem. For details on the vulnerability assessment concept, methodology and classification systems please refer to the complete report attached at the bottom of the page, as well as to the deliverable D11.2 of EUPORIAS ("White paper on sector specific vulnerabilities"), which can be found at here.

Vulnerability characterisation

Referring to the analysis of the critical situation, decision-making processes and critical climate conditions, two different vulnerabilities can be identified (see the attachment below).

Vulnerability to highly variable snow conditions (weather scale). The critical situation is characterized by snow depths of less than 30cm or more than 1m and at the worst accompanied by temperatures above -2°C. This implies the decision on trial and slope maintenance and HR management requiring lead times of at least a few days at which longer lead times are welcome. The critical climate conditions are high magnitude snowfall events and periods of no snowfall at temperatures above -2°C.

  • Scale of critical climate conditions: couple of hours to days

  • Temporal scope for climate information: couple of hours to weeks

Vulnerability to bad winter season (S2D scale). The critical situation is characterized by snow depths below 30cm and temperatures above -2°C and especially a late start of the snowing season. This implies the decision on promotion and planning of communication policy which requires lead times of around 3 months before the start of the season. The critical climate conditions are warm seasonal temperatures (> -2°C) and low snowfall means and a late start of snowfall.

  • Scale of critical climate conditions: > 20 days/season

  • Temporal scope for climate information: 3-6 months

Vulnerability assessment for S2D-vulnerability

Climate-impact type (++)(+++): the ‘climate impact type’ can be classified as basically ‘statistical climate impact’: decision-making processes on promotion strategies and equipment and staff management for the coming winter season consider snow conditions of the entire season. Individual high- or low-snow events are manageable on the scale of weather events and are not critical as long as they do not dominate (< 20-30 days per season). Consequently, information on mean snowfall for a season is helpful at which information on the distribution would be desired.

However, the problem of the beginning of the snow-season may have the character of a ‘decision-conditioned climate impact’ since decision-makers require timely information on a relatively short-term event. This is technical very challenging (or even impossible) and accompanied with great uncertainties.

Role of climate (+++): the role of climate is that of a resource since the snow cover provides the basis for skiing business. This implies a potentially significant impact on decision-making since climate parameters constitute the economic basis.

Priority of scale (++): decision-making processes on snowmaking and grooming can be done short-term, However promotion and communication strategies are of primary importance which implies decision-making on seasonal scales.

Success criteria (+): the success criteria clearly of economic nature. The general lack of ethical issues or societal interests moderates the severity of a seasonal critical situation.


PROSNOW intends to deliver an operational snow falls and snow level seasonal forecast service for winter tourism professionals in the French Alpine area. This service is currently under development.