The project is divided into seven tasks:
1) Observed data set creation. This includes the creation of a data base with the observed characteristics of snow cover and meteorological conditions during several decades. The regularly observed data from stations and special data from field campaigns will be systematized and organized.
2) Snow cover types classification. This includes the development of snow cover types determined by its vertical structure. Analysis of the observed data on snow stratigraphy, structure and properties at key sides in combination with snow cover modelling.
3) Considering snow vertical structure in parameterisation scheme. The results of task 1 and 2 will become inputs to major global circulation models (GCM).
4) Climate model control running. The impacts of snow structure characteristics onto simulated contemporary climate will be discovered.
5) Scenario experiments with climate models. The transformation of the snow cover properties under certain scenarios of climate change will be analysed.
6) Estimates of snow extreme events. The probability of extreme events, floods, permafrost, thaw and the related avalanche activity in dependence of snow cover characteristics will be explored. It is expected that geographical distribution and seasonality, as well as occurrence and intensities of extreme events will change considerably.
7) Snow related economical aspects. The availability of snow melt water for agriculture and irrigation, alternative ways of transport, the costs of extreme events and new opportunities for winter tourism are topics of interest here.
Seven teams from five countries (RU, US, SK, CH, AT) with 32 project participants with different backgrounds in economical modelling, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, mathematics, physics, social sciences and landscape planning are expected to jointly work on this project during the period 2004 to 2007. The first project leader meeting took place in Kaprun/Austria in Oct. 2004. Other meetings are scheduled for Moscow, Oct. 11th to 16th, 2005 and Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovak Republic, Oct. 2006. The overall coordination is undertaken by the Landscape Division of the Department for Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology).