Articles | Volume 4, issue 3
Research article
08 Sep 2010
Research article |  | 08 Sep 2010

Reanalysis of multi-temporal aerial images of Storglaciären, Sweden (1959–99) – Part 2: Comparison of glaciological and volumetric mass balances

M. Zemp, P. Jansson, P. Holmlund, I. Gärtner-Roer, T. Koblet, P. Thee, and W. Haeberli

Abstract. Seasonal glaciological mass balances have been measured on Storglaciären without interruption since 1945/46. In addition, aerial surveys have been carried out on a decadal basis since the beginning of the observation program. Early studies had used the resulting aerial photographs to produce topographic glacier maps with which the in-situ observations could be verified. However, these maps as well as the derived volume changes are subject to errors which resulted in major differences between the derived volumetric and the glaciological mass balance. As a consequence, the original photographs were re-processed using uniform photogrammetric methods, which resulted in new volumetric mass balances for 1959–69, 1969–80, 1980–90, and 1990–99. We compared these new volumetric mass balances with mass balances obtained by standard glaciological methods including an uncertainty assessment considering all related previous studies. The absolute differences between volumetric and the glaciological mass balances are 0.8 m w.e. for the period of 1959–69 and 0.3 m w.e. or less for the other survey periods. These deviations are slightly reduced when considering corrections for systematic uncertainties due to differences in survey dates, reference areas, and internal ablation, whereas internal accumulation systematically increases the mismatch. However, the mean annual differences between glaciological and volumetric mass balance are less than the uncertainty of the in-situ stake reading and stochastic error bars of both data series overlap. Hence, no adjustment of the glaciological data series to the volumetric one is required.