The impact of climate change on the use of anti- and de-icing salt in Sweden

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The future needs for winter maintenance will probably be influenced by the climate change in different ways in different parts of the world. As Sweden is a country with several climate zones, the influence of climate change on winter maintenance will therefore differ between regions within the country. To understand the influence of climate change on the future needs of salt consumption in winter maintenance, modeled road weather data were calculated in the IRWIN project (a joint research project through ERA-NET ROAD funded by the 6th Framework Program of the European Commission), where climate change scenarios from ECHAM5 (the fifth generation of the European Centre Hamburg Model general circulation model from the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology) were combined with field data from the road weather information system in Sweden.

These modeled road weather data were used in project KLIVIN (the study presented here) in three Swedish regions (Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Sundsvall) and was combined with the Swedish winter severity index in order to calculate the trends of future salt needs. In this study the needs of salt for each of the three investigated regions were calculated in 30-year periods between 1970 and 2100. The results show that salt use related to snowfall will decrease in all three regions, while the salt use related to temperature will increase in the northernmost region (Sundsvall) and show a small decrease in the two other regions (Gothenburg and Stockholm).

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