Reanalysing glacier mass balance measurement series
Abstract. Glacier-wide mass balance has been measured for more than sixty years and is widely used as an indicator of climate change and to assess the glacier contribution to runoff and sea level rise. Until recently, comprehensive uncertainty assessments have rarely been carried out and mass balance data have often been applied using rough error estimation or without consideration of errors. In this study, we propose a framework for reanalysing glacier mass balance series that includes conceptual and statistical toolsets for assessment of random and systematic errors, as well as for validation and calibration (if necessary) of the glaciological with the geodetic balance results. We demonstrate the usefulness and limitations of the proposed scheme, drawing on an analysis that comprises over 50 recording periods for a dozen glaciers, and we make recommendations to investigators and users of glacier mass balance data. Reanalysing glacier mass balance series needs to become a standard procedure for every monitoring programme to improve data quality, including reliable uncertainty estimates.