Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 10, 1191–1200, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-1191-2016
The Cryosphere, 10, 1191–1200, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-1191-2016

Research article 03 Jun 2016

Research article | 03 Jun 2016

Time forecast of a break-off event from a hanging glacier

Jérome Faillettaz1, Martin Funk2, and Marco Vagliasindi3 Jérome Faillettaz et al.
  • 13G, UZH, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2VAW, ETHZ, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Fondazione Montagna Sicura, Courmayeur, Aosta Valley, Italy

Abstract. A cold hanging glacier located on the south face of the Grandes Jorasses (Mont Blanc, Italy) broke off on the 23 and 29 September 2014 with a total estimated ice volume of 105 000 m3. Thanks to accurate surface displacement measurements taken up to the final break-off, this event was successfully predicted 10 days in advance, enabling local authorities to take the necessary safety measures. The break-off event also confirmed that surface displacements experienced a power law acceleration along with superimposed log-periodic oscillations prior to the final rupture. This paper describes the methods used to achieve a satisfactory time forecast in real time and demonstrates, using a retrospective analysis, their potential for the development of early-warning systems in real time.

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Short summary
The break-off of a cold hanging glacier could be successfully predicted 10 days in advance thanks to very accurate surface displacement measurements taken right up to the final event. This break-off event also confirmed that surface displacements experience a power law acceleration along with superimposed log-periodic oscillations prior to the final rupture. This paper describes the methods used to achieve a satisfactory time forecast in real time.