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Anemo-orographic systems

The prevailing western airflow from the Atlantic Ocean in conjunction with the west-east arrangement of Krkonoše's main ridges and valleys potentiate the existence of a specific natural phenomenon. Wind flow rises up through the windward valleys of the Mumlava and Bílé Labe rivers or the stream of Dolský potok, increasing in speed due to the narrowing profiles of the valleys, even when flowing over the high plateaus of Labská, Pančavská, Bílá and Čertova louka. Strong winds then descend into the lee of the glacial cirques of Kotelní, Labské and Sněžné jámy, Studniční jáma, Úpská jáma and Wielki Staw/Mały Staw, under the formation of massive bursts of turbulence. For millennia, these local winds have been following the same routes, thereby significantly affecting the distribution of rainfall and snowfall as well as formation of snow avalanches. As a consequence, avalanche slopes have become permanently free of forest, whilst there is light, sun, shelter from wind and plenty of moisture from long-lying snowfields. Winds, however, also convey – from the windward to the leeward side – plant seeds, small animals and particles of soil from places both near and far, so the lee sides of the glacial cirques work as some sort of “biological dumping ground” for the best and most diverse wildlife within the mountains. In specialist bibliography, this phenomenon is referred to as an anemo-orographic system, discovered and described in detail for global science right here in the Krkonoše Mountains.

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