Information on the temporal and spatial occurrence of strong winds and snow loads on trees is important for the risk management of wind- and snow-induced damage. Meteorological measurements made at 19 locations across Finland during 1961–2000 are used to understand the temporal and spatial occurrence of strong winds and large snow loads. A Kriging interpolation method was used to produce a spatial analysis of wind-speed events above 11 m s–1, 14 m s–1, and greater or equal to 17 m s–1 and snowfall accumulation above 20 kg m–2 and 30 kg m–2. According to the analysis, wind speeds exceeded 14 m s–1 at least 155 times and reached 17 m s–1 only 5 times at inland locations during the 40 years. Large snowfall accumulations were more frequent in the higher-elevation inland areas than along the coast. The snow load on trees exceeded 20 kg m–2 about 65 times a year when averaged over all 40 years, but was as high as 150 times a year during the mild 1990s. The maximum number of heavy snow-load events occurred in 1994 in northern Finland, consistent with a forest inventory by the Finnish Forest Research Institute in 1992–1994. The findings of this study imply that the risk of wind-induced damage is highest in the late autumn when trees do not have the additional support of frozen soil. In contrast, the risk of snow-induced damage is highest at higher-elevations inland, especially in northern Finland.
* Erratum (23 Oct 2012): The authors have requested inclusion of an additional author. Author information should thus be as follows: Hilppa Gregow, Ulla Puranen, Ari Venäläinen, Heli Peltola, Seppo Kellomäki & David Schultz