Geodetic reanalysis of annual glaciological mass balances (2001–2011) of Hintereisferner, Austria
Abstract. This study presents a reanalysis of the glaciologically obtained annual glacier mass balances at Hintereisferner, Ötztal Alps, Austria, for the period 2001–2011. The reanalysis is accomplished through a comparison with geodetically derived mass changes, using annual high-resolution airborne laser scanning (ALS). The grid-based adjustments for the method-inherent differences are discussed along with associated uncertainties and discrepancies of the two methods of mass balance measurements. A statistical comparison of the two datasets shows no significant difference for seven annual, as well as the cumulative, mass changes over the 10-year record. Yet, the statistical view hides significant differences in the mass balance years 2002/03 (glaciological minus geodetic records = +0.92 m w.e.), 2005/06 (+0.60 m w.e.), and 2006/07 (−0.45 m w.e.). We conclude that exceptional meteorological conditions can render the usual glaciological observational network inadequate. Furthermore, we consider that ALS data reliably reproduce the annual mass balance and can be seen as validation or calibration tools for the glaciological method.