Perennial snow in the Scottish mountains


I've written several postings on my blog about this topic and I have discovered a few websites and publications that I've used to explore it further, although it's still very much an unexplored and esoteric area, even amongst people who spend time in the Scottish mountains.

Some resources are listed below and provide a good overview - the academic papers in particular are a mine of data and information if you can get access to them.

The acknowledged authority in the study of long-lasting snow in the UK (as well as being an expert in the ecology of the Scottish upland environment, particularly the Cairngorm mountains) is Dr. Adam Watson.

My blog postings:



Scotland's Winter Mountains, Martin Moran, 1998
(the best book available about the winter environment of the mountains in Scotland, including information about long-lasting and perennial snowpatches, but now slightly outdated and out of print)

The Snow Tourist, by Charlie English, 2009
(contains a chapter about the long-lasting snowpatches in Garbh Choire Mòr in the Cairngorms)

Seton Gordon's Cairngorms, edited by Hamish Brown, 2009
(contains chapters about Gordon's observations of long-lasting and perennial snowpatches in the Cairngorms in the first half of the twentieth century, as well as his observation of the complete disappearance of the Garbh Choire Mòr snowpatches in 1959)

So Foul and Fair a Day, by Alastair Dawson (2009)
(no information about Scottish snowpatches, but the best, most up-to-date and most accessible book about Scotland's weather and climate)

Cool Britannia, by Adam Watson & Iain Cameron, 2010
(see my review of this book on my blog here; there is also a short and inadequate review on the Guardian website here)

A Snow Book, Northern Scotland, by Adam Watson, 2011 (this book has just been published; see my review of this book on my blog here)

Academic papers and journal articles (the full texts of many of these papers and articles are only available from academic libraries or online from subscribed institutions; this list is in chronological order):

  • Cameron I, Watson A, Duncan D. 2013. Six Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2012/2013. Weather 68. 191-193. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Cameron I, Watson A, Duncan D. 2012. Two Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2011/2012. Weather 67. 162-164. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Cameron I, Duncan D, Pottie J. 2011. Six Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2010/2011. Weather 66. 223-225. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Cameron I, Duncan D, Pottie J. 2010. Six Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2009/2010. Weather 65. 196-198. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Duncan D, Cameron I, Pottie J. 2009. Twelve Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2008/2009. Weather 64. 184-186. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Duncan D, Cameron I, Pottie J. 2008. Nine Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2007/2008. Weather 63. 138-140. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Trivedi M R, Browne M K, Berry P M, Dawson T P, Morecroft M D. 2007. Projecting climate change impacts on mountain snow cover in central Scotland from historical patterns. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 39. 488-499.
  • Watson A, Duncan D, Pottie J. 2007. No Scottish snow survives until winter 2006/07. Weather 62. 71–73. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Duncan D, Pottie J. 2006. Two Scottish snow patches survive until winter 2005/06. Weather 61. 132–134. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 2005. One Scottish snow patch survives until winter 2004/05. Weather 60. 165–166. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 2004. No Scottish snow patches survive through the summer of 2003. Weather 59. 125-126 Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 2003. Five UK snow patches last until winter 2002/03. Weather 58. 226–229. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 2002. Two UK snow patches last until winter 2001/02. Weather 57. 219-222. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Watson A, Davison R W, Pottie J. 2002. Snow patches lasting until winter in north-east Scotland in 1971-2000. Weather 57. 374-385. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Fryday A M. 2001. The lichen vegetation associated with areas of late snow-lie in the Scottish Highlands. Lichenologist 33. 121-150. Full text of paper (PDF).
  • Harrison S J, Winterbottom S J, Johnson R C. 2001. A preliminary assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of recent changes in winter snow cover in Scotland. Scottish Geographical Journal 117. 297-312.
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 2001. Forty-one UK snow patches last until winter 2000/01. Weather 56, 404- 407.
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 2000. Six UK snow patches last until winter 1999/2000. Weather 55. 286-290.
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 1999. Only one UK snow patch lasts until winter 1998/99. Weather 54. 369-374.
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Duncan D. 1998. Survival of two snow patches in the UK until winter 1997/98. Weather 53. 155-158.
  • Harrison S J. 1997. Changes in the Scottish climate. Botanical Journal of Scotland 49. 287-300.
  • Harrison S J, Mordaunt C H. 1997. Changes in the location and persistence of Scottish snowbeds. The Globe (UK GER Office) 39. 4-6.
  • Watson A, Pottie J, Rae S, Duncan D. 1997. Melting of all snow patches in the UK by late October 1996 (letter). Weather 52. 161.
  • Watson A. 1995. More data on Scottish snowbeds (letter). Weather 50. 356.
  • Spink P C. 1995. Scottish snowbeds in summer (letter). Weather 50. 355.
  • Pottie J. 1995. Scottish snowbeds: records from three sites. Weather 50. 124-129.
  • Watson A, Davison R W, French D. D. 1994. Summer snow patches and climate in northeast Scotland, U.K. Arctic and Alpine Research 26. 141-151. Full text of paper (JSTOR).
  • Harrison S J. 1993. Differences in the duration of snow cover on Scottish ski-slopes between mild and cold winters. Scottish Geographical Magazine 109. 37-44.
  • Rapson S C. 1990. The age of the Cairngorm corrie moraines. Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal 34 (no. 181). 457–463.
  • Davison R W. 1987. The supply of snow in the eastern highlands of Scotland: 1954-5 to 1983-4. Weather 42. 42-50.
  • Rapson S C. 1985. Minimum age of corrie moraine ridges in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. Boreas 14. 155–159.
  • Lockwood J G. 1982. Snow and ice balance in Britain at the present time, and during the last glacial maximum and late glacial periods. Journal of Climatology 2. 209–231.
  • Spink P C. 1980. A summary of summer snow surveys in Scotland: 1965-1978. Journal of Meteorology 5. 105-111.
  • Spink P C. 1980. Scottish snow-beds in summer: 1979 survey and some comments on the last 30 years. Weather 35. 256–259.
  • Pottie J M. 1979. Scottish snowbeds in 1976 (letter). Weather 34. 81.
  • Spink P C. 1979. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1978. Weather 34. 158–160.
  • Hudson I C. 1978. Cairngorm snowfield report 1977. Journal of Meteorology 3. 306-310.
  • Manley G. 1978. Variation in the frequency of snowfall in east-central Scotland 1708-1975. Meteorological Magazine 107. 1-16.
  • Spink P C. 1978. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1977. Weather 33. 278–279.
  • Spink P C. 1977. The Cairngorm Snowfields (letter). Journal of Meteorology 2. 243.
  • Hudson I C. 1977. Cairngorm snowfield report 1976. Journal of Meteorology 2. 163-166.
  • Spink P C. 1977. Scottish snow survivals - summer 1976. Weather 32. 303–304.
  • Sugden D E. 1977. Did glaciers form in the Cairngorms in the 17th-19th centuries? Cairngorm Club Journal 97. 189-201.
  • Hudson I C. 1976. Cairngorm snowfield report 1975. Journal of Meteorology 1. 285.
  • Spink P C. 1976. Scottish snow survivals - summer 1975. Weather 31. 126–129.
  • Gordon S. 1975. Unusual deposit of fine soil on a semi-permanent Cairngorm snowfield (letter). Journal of Meteorology 1. 70.
  • Green F H W. 1975. The transient snow-line in the Scottish Highlands. Weather 30. 226-235.
  • Manley G. 1975. Fluctuations of snowfall and persistence of snow cover in marginal-oceanic climates. Proceedings of the WMO/IAMAP Symposium on Long-term Climatic Fluctuations. WMO No. 421. 183-188
  • Spink P C. 1975. Scottish snow survivals, summer 1974. Weather 30. 235–238.
  • Spink P C. 1974. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1973. Weather 29. 151–154.
  • Green F H W. 1973. Changing incidence of snow in the Scottish Highlands. Weather 28. 386-394.
  • Spink P C. 1973. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1972. Weather 28. 162–164.
  • Spink P C. 1972. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1971. Weather 27. 35-36.
  • Manley G. 1971. The mountain snows of Britain. Weather 26. 192-200.
  • Manley G. 1971. Scotland’s semipermanent snows. Weather 26. 458–471.
  • Spink P C. 1971. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1970. Weather 26. 223–224.
  • Sugden D E. 1971. The Significance of Periglacial Activity on Some Scottish Mountains. The Geographical Journal 137. 388-392. Full text of paper (JSTOR).
  • Green F H W. 1970. Seasonal changes of snow cover on the Cairngorms. Weather 25. 211-213.
  • Spink P C. 1970. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1969. Weather 25. 201–202.
  • Spink P C. 1969. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1968. Weather 24. 115–117.
  • Green F H W. 1968. Persistent snow beds in the western Cairngorms. Weather 23. 206-209.
  • Spink P C. 1968. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1967. Weather 23. 209–211.
  • Berry W G. 1967. Salute to Garbh Choire Mòr. Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal 28. 273–276.
  • Spink P C. 1967. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1966. Weather 22. 298–299.
  • Spink P C. 1966. Scottish snowbeds in summer 1965. Weather 21. 127–129.
  • McVean D N. 1963. Snow cover in the Cairngorms 1961-62. Weather 18. 339-342.
  • Spink P C. 1962. Summer in the Cairngorms (letter). Weather 17. 408–409.
  • McVean D N. 1958. Snow cover and vegetation in the Scottish Highlands. Weather 13. 197-200.
  • Baird P D. 1957. Weather and snow on Ben Macdhui. Cairngorm Club Journal 17. 147-149.
  • Spink P C. 1955. Summer snows around Ben Nevis. Weather 10. 270-271.
  • Hawke E L. 1953. Midsummer snow on Braeriach. Weather 8. 121.
  • Champion D L. 1952. Summer snows around Ben Nevis. Weather 7. 180-184.
  • Gordon S. 1950. Snow flora of the Scottish Hills (news). Nature 165. 132-134.
  • Manley G. 1949. The Snowline in Britain. Glaciers and Climate: Geophysical and Geomorphological Essays. Geografiska Annaler 31. Full text of paper (JSTOR).
  • Bonacina L C W. 1938. Drift problems suggested by severe snowstorms in the British Isles with special reference to the permanent Scottish snowbeds. Transactions of the International Commissions of Snow and Glaciers. 60th General Assembly, Edinburgh. Publication No. 23, Riga. 91-110. Full text of paper.
  • Dansey R P. 1933-1935. Disappearance of the Scottish Snow-fields. The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal 20. 366–367.
  • [unknown author]. 1933-1935. Snow on Ben Nevis. The Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal 20. 451.
  • Parker J A. 1925. A walk through the Garbh Choire. Cairngorm Club Journal 11 (no. 63). 143–146.
  • Gatty V H. 1906. The Glacial Aspect of Ben Nevis. The Geographical Journal 27. 487-492.
  • Dansey R P. 1905. The Glacial Snow of Ben Nevis. Symons’s Meteorological Magazine 40. 29-32.
  • Cash C G. 1902. Nights and days on the Cairngorms. Cairngorm Club Journal 3 (no. 18). 317–326.

Government and NGO reports:

  • Barnett C, Hossell J, Perry M, Procter C, Hughes G. 2006. A handbook of climate trends across Scotland. SNIFFER project CC03, Scotland & Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research. Full text of handbook.
  • Climate Change and Changing Patterns of Snowfall in Scotland, The Scottish Executive, 2001. Full text of report.
  • Cairngorm Area; Report of the Technical Group on the Cairngorm Area of the Eastern Highlands of Scotland, Scottish Development Department, HMSO, 1967.

Magazine articles:

  • The lichens of Choire Garbh, New Scientist, 23rd February 1984. Full text (Google books).

Academic papers about perennial ice & snow, firn, 'fossil ice' and 'glacierets' in mountain locations beyond Scotland (these are relevant for the study of Scottish snowpatches which show some similarities to these features):

  • Fujita K, Hiyama K, Iida H, Ageta Y. 2010. Self-regulated fluctuations in the ablation of a snow patch over four decades. Water Resources Research 46. Full text of paper.
  • Grunewald K, Scheithauer J. 2010. Europe's southernmost glaciers: response and adaptation to climate change. Journal of Glaciology 56. 129-142. Full text of paper.
  • Gachev E, Gikov A, Zlatinova C, Blagoev B. 2009. Present state of Bulgarian glacierets. Landform Analysis 11. 16-24. Full text of paper.
  • Green K, Pickering C M. 2009. The decline of snowpatches in the Snowy Mountains of Australia: importance of climate warming, variable snow, and wind. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 41. 212-218.
  • Hughes P D. 2009. Twenty-first Century Glaciers and Climate in the Prokletije Mountains, Albania. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 41. 455-459.
  • Gądek B. 2008. The problem of firn-ice patches in the Polish Tatras as an indicator of climatic fluctuations. Geographia Polonica 81. 41-52. Full text of paper.
  • Trueba J J G, Moreno R M, Martínez de Pisón E, Serrano E. 2008. 'Little Ice Age' glaciation and current glaciers in the Iberian Peninsula. The Holocene 18. 551-568.
  • Gądek B, Kotyrba A. 2007. Contemporary and fossil metamorphic ice in Medena Kotlina (Slovak Tatras), mapped by ground-penetrating radar. Geomorphologia Slovaca et Bohemica 7. 75-81. Full text of paper.
  • Hejcman M, Dvorak I J, Kocianova M, Pavlu V, Nezerkova P, Vitek O, Rauch O, Jenik J. 2006. Snow depth and vegetation pattern in a late-melting snowbed analyzed by GPS and GIS in the Giant Mountains, Czech Republic. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 38. 90-98.
  • Yoshida M, Yamamoto K, Higuchi K, Iida H, Ohata T, Nakamura T. 1990. First discovery of fossil ice of 1000–1700 year B. P. in Japan. Journal of Glaciology 36. 258–259. Full text of correspondence.
  • Yamamoto K, Yoshida H. 1987. Impulse radar sounding of fossil ice within the Kuranosuke snow patch, central Japan. Annals of Glaciology 9. 218–220. Full text of paper.
  • Klapa M. 1980. The problems of the perennial snow patches in the Polish Tatra Mountains. World Glacier Inventory - Inventaire mondial des Glaciers (Proceedings of the Riederalp Workshop, September 1978; Actes de l'Atelier de Riederalp, septembre 1978): IAHS-AISH Publ no. 126. 173-179. Full text of paper