06 Sep 2021

06 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

The S2M meteorological and snow cover reanalysis over the French mountainous areas, description and evaluation (1958–2020)

Matthieu Vernay1, Matthieu Lafaysse1, Diego Monteiro1, Pascal Hagenmuller1, Rafife Nheili1, Raphaëlle Samacoïts1,2, Deborah Verfaillie3, and Samuel Morin1 Matthieu Vernay et al.
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, CNRM, Centre d’Études de la Neige, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 2Météo-France, Direction de la Climatologie et des Services Climatiques, Toulouse, France
  • 3Earth and life institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium

Abstract. This work introduces the S2M (SAFRAN - SURFEX/ISBA-Crocus - MEPRA) meteorological and snow cover reanalysis in the French Alps, Pyrenees and Corsica, spanning the time period from 1958 to 2020. The simulations are made over elementary areas, referred to as massifs, designed to represent the main drivers of the spatial variability observed in mountain ranges (elevation, slope and aspect). The meteorological reanalysis is performed by the SAFRAN system, which combines information from numerical weather prediction models (ERA-40 reanalysis from 1958 to 2002, ARPEGE from 2002 to 2020) and the best possible set of available in-situ meteorological observations. SAFRAN outputs are used to drive the Crocus detailed snow cover model, which is part of the land surface scheme SURFEX/ISBA. This model chain provides simulations of the evolution of the snow cover, underlying ground, and the associated avalanche hazard using the MEPRA model. This contribution describes and discusses the main climatological characteristics (climatology, variability and trends), and the main limitations of this dataset. We provide a short overview of the scientific applications using this reanalysis in various scientific fields related to meteorological conditions and the snow cover in mountain areas. An evaluation of the skill of S2M is also displayed, in particular through comparison to 665 independent in-situ snow depth observations. Further, we describe the technical handling of this open access data set, available at this address: Scientific publications using this dataset must mention in the acknowledgments: "The S2M data are provided by Météo-France - CNRS, CNRM Centre d’Etudes de la Neige, through AERIS" and refer to it as Vernay et al. (2020).

Matthieu Vernay et al.

Status: open (until 01 Nov 2021)

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Matthieu Vernay et al.

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The S2M meteorological and snow cover reanalysis in the French mountainous areas (1958 - present) Matthieu Vernay, Matthieu Lafaysse

Matthieu Vernay et al.


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Short summary
This paper introduces the latest version of the freely available S2M data set which provides estimates of both meteorological and snow cover variables, as well as various avalanche hazard diagnostics at different elevations, slopes and aspects for the three main French high elevation mountainous regions. A complete description of the system and the data set is provided, as well as an overview of the possible uses of this data set and an objective assessment of its limitations.