Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
08 Sep 2015
Research article | 08 Sep 2015
Evolution of Ossoue Glacier (French Pyrenees) since the end of the Little Ice Age
R. Marti et al.
R. Marti, S. Gascoin, E. Berthier, M. de Pinel, T. Houet, and D. Laffly
The Cryosphere, 10, 1361–1380,Short summary
To date, there is no definitive approach to map snow depth in mountainous areas from spaceborne sensors. We used very-high-resolution stereo satellites imagery (Pléiades) to generate a map of snow depth in a small Pyrenean catchment. The validation results are promising and open the possibility to retrieve the snow depth at a metric horizontal resolution in remote mountainous areas, even when no field data are available.
Linh N. Luu, Robert Vautard, Pascal Yiou, and Jean-Michel Soubeyroux
Earth Syst. Dynam., 13, 687–702,Short summary
This study downscales climate information from EURO-CORDEX (approx. 12 km) output to a higher horizontal resolution (approx. 3 km) for the south of France. We also propose a matrix of different indices to evaluate the high-resolution precipitation output. We find that a higher resolution reproduces more realistic extreme precipitation events at both daily and sub-daily timescales. Our results and approach are promising to apply to other Mediterranean regions and climate impact studies.
Robert Vautard, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Rémy Bonnet, Sihan Li, Yoann Robin, Sarah Kew, Sjoukje Philip, Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, Brigitte Dubuisson, Nicolas Viovy, Markus Reichstein, Friederike Otto, and Iñaki Garcia de Cortazar-Atauri
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Preprint under review for NHESSShort summary
A depp frost occurred in early April 2021, inducing severe damages in grapevine and fruit trees in France. We found that such extreme frosts occurring after the start of the growing season such as those of April 2021 are currently about 2 °C colder [0.5 °C to 3.3 °C] in observations than in pre-industrial climate. This observed intensification of growing-period frosts is attributable, at least in part, to human-caused climate change, making the 2021 event 50 % more likely [10 %–110 %].
Maximillian Van Wyk de Vries, Shashank Bhushan, Mylène Jacquemart, César Deschamps-Berger, Etienne Berthier, Simon Gascoin, David E. Shean, Dan H. Shugar, and Andreas Kääb
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
Preprint under review for NHESSShort summary
On the 7th of February 2021, a large rock-ice avalanche occurred in Chamoli, Indian Himalaya. The resulting debris flow swept down the nearby valley, leaving over 200 people dead or missing. We use a range of satellite datasets to investigate how the collapse area changed prior to collapse. We show that signs of instability were visible as early five years prior to collapse. However, it would likely not have been possible to predict the timing of the event from current satellite datasets.
Zacharie Barrou Dumont, Simon Gascoin, Olivier Hagolle, Michaël Ablain, Rémi Jugier, Germain Salgues, Florence Marti, Aurore Dupuis, Marie Dumont, and Samuel Morin
The Cryosphere, 15, 4975–4980,Short summary
Since 2020, the Copernicus High Resolution Snow & Ice Monitoring Service has distributed snow cover maps at 20 m resolution over Europe in near-real time. These products are derived from the Sentinel-2 Earth observation mission, with a revisit time of 5 d or less (cloud-permitting). Here we show the good accuracy of the snow detection over a wide range of regions in Europe, except in dense forest regions where the snow cover is hidden by the trees.
Nora Helbig, Michael Schirmer, Jan Magnusson, Flavia Mäder, Alec van Herwijnen, Louis Quéno, Yves Bühler, Jeff S. Deems, and Simon Gascoin
The Cryosphere, 15, 4607–4624,Short summary
The snow cover spatial variability in mountains changes considerably over the course of a snow season. In applications such as weather, climate and hydrological predictions the fractional snow-covered area is therefore an essential parameter characterizing how much of the ground surface in a grid cell is currently covered by snow. We present a seasonal algorithm and a spatiotemporal evaluation suggesting that the algorithm can be applied in other geographic regions by any snow model application.
Esteban Alonso-González, Ethan Gutmann, Kristoffer Aalstad, Abbas Fayad, Marine Bouchet, and Simon Gascoin
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 4455–4471,Short summary
Snow water resources represent a key hydrological resource for the Mediterranean regions, where most of the precipitation falls during the winter months. This is the case for Lebanon, where snowpack represents 31 % of the spring flow. We have used models to generate snow information corrected by means of remote sensing snow cover retrievals. Our results highlight the high temporal variability in the snowpack in Lebanon and its sensitivity to further warming caused by its hypsography.
Andreas Kääb, Mylène Jacquemart, Adrien Gilbert, Silvan Leinss, Luc Girod, Christian Huggel, Daniel Falaschi, Felipe Ugalde, Dmitry Petrakov, Sergey Chernomorets, Mikhail Dokukin, Frank Paul, Simon Gascoin, Etienne Berthier, and Jeffrey S. Kargel
The Cryosphere, 15, 1751–1785,Short summary
Hardly recognized so far, giant catastrophic detachments of glaciers are a rare but great potential for loss of lives and massive damage in mountain regions. Several of the events compiled in our study involve volumes (up to 100 million m3 and more), avalanche speeds (up to 300 km/h), and reaches (tens of kilometres) that are hard to imagine. We show that current climate change is able to enhance associated hazards. For the first time, we elaborate a set of factors that could cause these events.
Michael Matiu, Alice Crespi, Giacomo Bertoldi, Carlo Maria Carmagnola, Christoph Marty, Samuel Morin, Wolfgang Schöner, Daniele Cat Berro, Gabriele Chiogna, Ludovica De Gregorio, Sven Kotlarski, Bruno Majone, Gernot Resch, Silvia Terzago, Mauro Valt, Walter Beozzo, Paola Cianfarra, Isabelle Gouttevin, Giorgia Marcolini, Claudia Notarnicola, Marcello Petitta, Simon C. Scherrer, Ulrich Strasser, Michael Winkler, Marc Zebisch, Andrea Cicogna, Roberto Cremonini, Andrea Debernardi, Mattia Faletto, Mauro Gaddo, Lorenzo Giovannini, Luca Mercalli, Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, Andrea Sušnik, Alberto Trenti, Stefano Urbani, and Viktor Weilguni
The Cryosphere, 15, 1343–1382,Short summary
The first Alpine-wide assessment of station snow depth has been enabled by a collaborative effort of the research community which involves more than 30 partners, 6 countries, and more than 2000 stations. It shows how snow in the European Alps matches the climatic zones and gives a robust estimate of observed changes: stronger decreases in the snow season at low elevations and in spring at all elevations, however, with considerable regional differences.
Vincent Vionnet, Christopher B. Marsh, Brian Menounos, Simon Gascoin, Nicholas E. Wayand, Joseph Shea, Kriti Mukherjee, and John W. Pomeroy
The Cryosphere, 15, 743–769,Short summary
Mountain snow cover provides critical supplies of fresh water to downstream users. Its accurate prediction requires inclusion of often-ignored processes. A multi-scale modelling strategy is presented that efficiently accounts for snow redistribution. Model accuracy is assessed via airborne lidar and optical satellite imagery. With redistribution the model captures the elevation–snow depth relation. Redistribution processes are required to reproduce spatial variability, such as around ridges.
Nora Helbig, Yves Bühler, Lucie Eberhard, César Deschamps-Berger, Simon Gascoin, Marie Dumont, Jesus Revuelto, Jeff S. Deems, and Tobias Jonas
The Cryosphere, 15, 615–632,Short summary
The spatial variability in snow depth in mountains is driven by interactions between topography, wind, precipitation and radiation. In applications such as weather, climate and hydrological predictions, this is accounted for by the fractional snow-covered area describing the fraction of the ground surface covered by snow. We developed a new description for model grid cell sizes larger than 200 m. An evaluation suggests that the description performs similarly well in most geographical regions.
El Mahdi El Khalki, Yves Tramblay, Christian Massari, Luca Brocca, Vincent Simonneaux, Simon Gascoin, and Mohamed El Mehdi Saidi
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 2591–2607,Short summary
In North Africa, the vulnerability to floods is high, and there is a need to improve the flood-forecasting systems. Remote-sensing and reanalysis data can palliate the lack of in situ measurements, in particular for soil moisture, which is a crucial parameter to consider when modeling floods. In this study we provide an evaluation of recent globally available soil moisture products for flood modeling in Morocco.
César Deschamps-Berger, Simon Gascoin, Etienne Berthier, Jeffrey Deems, Ethan Gutmann, Amaury Dehecq, David Shean, and Marie Dumont
The Cryosphere, 14, 2925–2940,Short summary
We evaluate a recent method to map snow depth based on satellite photogrammetry. We compare it with accurate airborne laser-scanning measurements in the Sierra Nevada, USA. We find that satellite data capture the relationship between snow depth and elevation at the catchment scale and also small-scale features like snow drifts and avalanche deposits. We conclude that satellite photogrammetry stands out as a convenient method to estimate the spatial distribution of snow depth in high mountains.
C. Abou Chakra, J. Somma, S. Gascoin, P. Fanise, and L. Drapeau
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XLIII-B2-2020, 119–125,
Michael Kern, Robert Cullen, Bruno Berruti, Jerome Bouffard, Tania Casal, Mark R. Drinkwater, Antonio Gabriele, Arnaud Lecuyot, Michael Ludwig, Rolv Midthassel, Ignacio Navas Traver, Tommaso Parrinello, Gerhard Ressler, Erik Andersson, Cristina Martin-Puig, Ole Andersen, Annett Bartsch, Sinead Farrell, Sara Fleury, Simon Gascoin, Amandine Guillot, Angelika Humbert, Eero Rinne, Andrew Shepherd, Michiel R. van den Broeke, and John Yackel
The Cryosphere, 14, 2235–2251,Short summary
The Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter will provide high-resolution sea ice thickness and land ice elevation measurements and the capability to determine the properties of snow cover on ice to serve operational products and services of direct relevance to the polar regions. This paper describes the mission objectives, identifies the key contributions the CRISTAL mission will make, and presents a concept – as far as it is already defined – for the mission payload.
Abbas Fayad and Simon Gascoin
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1527–1542,Short summary
Seasonal snowpack is an essential water resource in Mediterranean mountains. Here, we look at the role of water percolation in simulating snow mass (SWE), for the first time, in Mount Lebanon. We use SnowModel, a distributed snow model, forced by station data. The main sources of uncertainty were attributed to rain–snow partitioning, transient winter snowmelt, and the subpixel snow cover. Yet, we show that a process-based model is suitable to simulate wet snowpack in Mediterranean mountains.
Marion Réveillet, Shelley MacDonell, Simon Gascoin, Christophe Kinnard, Stef Lhermitte, and Nicole Schaffer
The Cryosphere, 14, 147–163,
S. Ferrant, A. Selles, M. Le Page, A. AlBitar, S. Mermoz, S. Gascoin, A. Bouvet, S. Ahmed, and Y. Kerr
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XLII-3-W6, 285–292,
Robert Vautard, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Friederike E. L. Otto, Pascal Yiou, Hylke de Vries, Erik van Meijgaard, Andrew Stepek, Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, Sjoukje Philip, Sarah F. Kew, Cecilia Costella, Roop Singh, and Claudia Tebaldi
Earth Syst. Dynam., 10, 271–286,Short summary
The effect of human activities on the probability of winter wind storms like the ones that occurred in Western Europe in January 2018 is analysed using multiple model ensembles. Despite a significant probability decline in observations, we find no significant change in probabilities due to human influence on climate so far. However, such extreme events are likely to be slightly more frequent in the future. The observed decrease in storminess is likely to be due to increasing roughness.
Simon Gascoin, Manuel Grizonnet, Marine Bouchet, Germain Salgues, and Olivier Hagolle
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 493–514,Short summary
The Sentinel-2 satellite mission allows the observation of the land surface at unprecedented resolutions (20 m every 5 days). The frequency of observations can be further increased with Landsat-8. Here we describe a new collection of snow maps made from Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 and evaluate their accuracy. The data are routinely produced over several mountain areas and freely distributed via http://theia.cnes.fr. These new data could unlock advances in our understanding of mountain ecosystems.
Laurie Caillouet, Jean-Philippe Vidal, Eric Sauquet, Benjamin Graff, and Jean-Michel Soubeyroux
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 241–260,Short summary
SCOPE Climate is a 25-member ensemble of 142-year daily high-resolution reconstructions of precipitation, temperature, and Penman–Monteith reference evapotranspiration over France. It is the first century-long gridded high-resolution homogeneous dataset available over France. It thus paves the way for studying local historical meteorological events and for assessing the local climate variability from the end of the 19th century.
Adrien Gilbert, Silvan Leinss, Jeffrey Kargel, Andreas Kääb, Simon Gascoin, Gregory Leonard, Etienne Berthier, Alina Karki, and Tandong Yao
The Cryosphere, 12, 2883–2900,Short summary
In Tibet, two glaciers suddenly collapsed in summer 2016 and produced two gigantic ice avalanches, killing nine people. This kind of phenomenon is extremely rare. By combining a detailed modelling study and high-resolution satellite observations, we show that the event was triggered by an increasing meltwater supply in the fine-grained material underneath the two glaciers. Contrary to what is often thought, this event is not linked to a change in the thermal condition at the glacier base.
Esteban Alonso-González, J. Ignacio López-Moreno, Simon Gascoin, Matilde García-Valdecasas Ojeda, Alba Sanmiguel-Vallelado, Francisco Navarro-Serrano, Jesús Revuelto, Antonio Ceballos, María Jesús Esteban-Parra, and Richard Essery
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 303–315,Short summary
We present a new daily gridded snow depth and snow water equivalent database over the Iberian Peninsula from 1980 to 2014 structured in common elevation bands. The data have proved their consistency with in situ observations and remote sensing data (MODIS). The presented dataset may be useful for many applications, including land management, hydrometeorological studies, phenology of flora and fauna, winter tourism and risk management.
Jordi Etchanchu, Vincent Rivalland, Simon Gascoin, Jérôme Cros, Tiphaine Tallec, Aurore Brut, and Gilles Boulet
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 5693–5708,Short summary
This study assesses the contribution of vegetation dynamics and land use products from high-resolution remote sensing data in the soil–vegetation–atmosphere Transfer ISBA model. We used a field-scale approach (each field is a computation cell) to take advantage of the resolution. The simulations done over an agricultural area in southwestern France showed that integrating such products leads to an improvement of the hydrometeorological fluxes like evapotranspiration or drainage.
Sébastien Monnier and Christophe Kinnard
Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 493–509,
Abbas Fayad, Simon Gascoin, Ghaleb Faour, Pascal Fanise, Laurent Drapeau, Janine Somma, Ali Fadel, Ahmad Al Bitar, and Richard Escadafal
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 573–587,Short summary
Snowmelt plays a key role in the replenishment of the karst groundwater in Lebanon. The proper estimation of the water contained in the snowpack is one of Lebanon's most challenging questions. In this paper, we present continuous meteorological and snow course observations for the first time in the snow-dominated regions of Mount Lebanon. This new dataset can be used to feed an advanced snowpack model and is the first step towards a better evaluation of the snowmelt in Lebanon.
Louise Steffensen Schmidt, Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir, Sverrir Guðmundsson, Peter L. Langen, Finnur Pálsson, Ruth Mottram, Simon Gascoin, and Helgi Björnsson
The Cryosphere, 11, 1665–1684,Short summary
The regional climate model HIRHAM5 is evaluated over Vatnajökull, Iceland, using automatic weather stations and mass balance observations from 1995 to 2014. From this we asses whether the model can be used to reconstruct the mass balance of the glacier. We find that the simulated energy balance is underestimated overall, but it has been improved by using a new albedo scheme. The specific mass balance is reconstructed back to 1980, thus expanding on the observational records of the mass balance.
Paul Hublart, Denis Ruelland, Inaki García de Cortázar-Atauri, Simon Gascoin, Stef Lhermitte, and Antonio Ibacache
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 3691–3717,Short summary
Our paper explores the reliability of conceptual catchment models in the dry Andes. First, we show that explicitly accounting for irrigation water use improves streamflow predictions during dry years. Second, we show that sublimation losses can be easily incorporated into temperature-based melt models without increasing model complexity too much. Our work also highlights areas requiring additional research, including the need for a better conceptualization of runoff generation processes.
R. Marti, S. Gascoin, E. Berthier, M. de Pinel, T. Houet, and D. Laffly
The Cryosphere, 10, 1361–1380,Short summary
To date, there is no definitive approach to map snow depth in mountainous areas from spaceborne sensors. We used very-high-resolution stereo satellites imagery (Pléiades) to generate a map of snow depth in a small Pyrenean catchment. The validation results are promising and open the possibility to retrieve the snow depth at a metric horizontal resolution in remote mountainous areas, even when no field data are available.
Christian Viel, Anne-Lise Beaulant, Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, and Jean-Pierre Céron
Adv. Sci. Res., 13, 51–55,Short summary
The use of seasonal forecast, combined with an impact model, could have a tangible positive effect on long-term decisions. This paper presents such an example for the management of a dam in France, studied in the framework of the FP7 project EUPORIAS. It details the assessment process, lead in collaboration with the stakeholder, especially the evaluation of the decision itself. It demonstrates that the introduction of relevant climate products could significantly improve existing practice.
F. Besson, E. Bazile, C. Soci, J.-M. Soubeyroux, G. Ouzeau, and M. Perrin
Adv. Sci. Res., 12, 137–140,Short summary
Due to the evolution of the observation network, hourly 2m temperature analysis performed by reanalysis systems shows temporal inhomogeneities. In this study, the diurnal temperature cycle has been reconstructed for stations which only record extreme temperatures to produce new “pseudo” hourly temperature observations. Then they are provided to analysis systems; the results have shown that it enables reducing the bias in temperature analysis.
S. Gascoin, O. Hagolle, M. Huc, L. Jarlan, J.-F. Dejoux, C. Szczypta, R. Marti, and R. Sánchez
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2337–2351,Short summary
There is a good agreement between the MODIS snow products and observations from automatic stations and Landsat snow maps in the Pyrenees. The optimal thresholds for which a MODIS pixel is marked as snow-covered are 40mm in water equivalent and 150mm in snow depth. We generate a gap-filled snow cover climatology for the Pyrenees. We compute the mean snow cover duration by elevation and aspect classes. We show anomalous snow patterns in 2012 and consequences on hydropower production.
S. Ferrant, S. Gascoin, A. Veloso, J. Salmon-Monviola, M. Claverie, V. Rivalland, G. Dedieu, V. Demarez, E. Ceschia, J.-L. Probst, P. Durand, and V. Bustillo
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 5219–5237,Short summary
A set of high spatial and temporal satellite images have been used to spatially calibrate crop growth within an agro-hydrological model dedicated to nitrogen contamination of stream water. This type of spatial calibration greatly improved the simulation of nitrogen plant uptake and better constrained nutrient fluxes in the river. This is an example of the benefit of the forthcoming Sentinel-2 high resolution optical image series that will be acquired every 4/5 days over continental surfaces.
P. Nicolle, R. Pushpalatha, C. Perrin, D. François, D. Thiéry, T. Mathevet, M. Le Lay, F. Besson, J.-M. Soubeyroux, C. Viel, F. Regimbeau, V. Andréassian, P. Maugis, B. Augeard, and E. Morice
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2829–2857,
S. Cauvy-Fraunié, T. Condom, A. Rabatel, M. Villacis, D. Jacobsen, and O. Dangles
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 4803–4816,
S. B. Morera, T. Condom, P. Vauchel, J.-L. Guyot, C. Galvez, and A. Crave
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 4641–4657,
A. Rabatel, B. Francou, A. Soruco, J. Gomez, B. Cáceres, J. L. Ceballos, R. Basantes, M. Vuille, J.-E. Sicart, C. Huggel, M. Scheel, Y. Lejeune, Y. Arnaud, M. Collet, T. Condom, G. Consoli, V. Favier, V. Jomelli, R. Galarraga, P. Ginot, L. Maisincho, J. Mendoza, M. Ménégoz, E. Ramirez, P. Ribstein, W. Suarez, M. Villacis, and P. Wagnon
The Cryosphere, 7, 81–102,
Related subject area
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Nicole Schaffer and Shelley MacDonell
The Cryosphere, 16, 1779–1791,Short summary
Over the last 2 decades the importance of Andean glaciers, particularly as water resources, has been recognized in both scientific literature and the public sphere. This has led to the inclusion of glaciers in environmental impact assessment and the development of glacier protection laws. We propose three categories that group glaciers based on their environmental sensitivity to hopefully help facilitate the effective application of these measures and evaluation of water resources in general.
Levan G. Tielidze, Gennady A. Nosenko, Tatiana E. Khromova, and Frank Paul
The Cryosphere, 16, 489–504,Short summary
The new Caucasus glacier inventory derived from manual delineation of glacier outlines based on medium-resolution (Landsat, Sentinel) and high-resolution (SPOT) satellite imagery shows the accelerated glacier area loss over the last 2 decades (2000–2020). This new glacier inventory will improve our understanding of climate change impacts at a regional scale and support related modelling studies by providing high-quality validation data.
Alexis Neven, Valentin Dall'Alba, Przemysław Juda, Julien Straubhaar, and Philippe Renard
The Cryosphere, 15, 5169–5186,Short summary
We present and compare different geostatistical methods for underglacial bedrock interpolation. Variogram-based interpolations are compared with a multipoint statistics approach on both test cases and real glaciers. Using the modeled bedrock, the ice volume for the Scex Rouge and Tsanfleuron glaciers (Swiss Alps) was estimated to be 113.9 ± 1.6 million cubic meters. Complex karstic geomorphological features are reproduced and can be used to improve the precision of underglacial flow estimation.
Daniela Festi, Margit Schwikowski, Valter Maggi, Klaus Oeggl, and Theo Manuel Jenk
The Cryosphere, 15, 4135–4143,Short summary
In our study we dated a 46 m deep ice core retrieved from the Adamello glacier (Central Italian Alps). We obtained a timescale combining the results of radionuclides 210Pb and 137Cs with annual layer counting derived from pollen and refractory black carbon concentrations. Our results indicate that the surface of the glacier is older than the drilling date of 2016 by about 20 years, therefore revealing that the glacier is at high risk of collapsing under current climate warming conditions.
Loris Compagno, Sarah Eggs, Matthias Huss, Harry Zekollari, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere, 15, 2593–2599,Short summary
Recently, discussions have focused on the difference in limiting the increase in global average temperatures to below 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 °C compared to preindustrial levels. Here, we assess the impacts that such different scenarios would have on both the future evolution of glaciers in the European Alps and the water resources they provide. Our results show that the different temperature targets have important implications for the changes predicted until 2100.
Dahong Zhang, Xiaojun Yao, Hongyu Duan, Shiyin Liu, Wanqin Guo, Meiping Sun, and Dazhi Li
The Cryosphere, 15, 1955–1973,Short summary
Glacier centerlines are crucial input for many glaciological applications. We propose a new algorithm to derive glacier centerlines and implement the corresponding program in Python language. Application of this method to 48 571 glaciers in the second Chinese glacier inventory automatically yielded the corresponding glacier centerlines with an average computing time of 20.96 s, a success rate of 100 % and a comprehensive accuracy of 94.34 %.
Livia Jakob, Noel Gourmelen, Martin Ewart, and Stephen Plummer
The Cryosphere, 15, 1845–1862,Short summary
Glaciers and ice caps are currently the largest contributor to sea level rise. Global monitoring of these regions is a challenging task, and significant differences remain between current estimates. This study looks at glacier changes in High Mountain Asia and the Gulf of Alaska using a new technique, which for the first time makes the use of satellite radar altimetry for mapping ice mass loss over mountain glacier regions possible.
Sebastian Hellmann, Johanna Kerch, Ilka Weikusat, Andreas Bauder, Melchior Grab, Guillaume Jouvet, Margit Schwikowski, and Hansruedi Maurer
The Cryosphere, 15, 677–694,Short summary
We analyse the orientation of ice crystals in an Alpine glacier and compare this orientation with the ice flow direction. We found that the crystals orient in the direction of the largest stress which is in the flow direction in the upper parts of the glacier and in the vertical direction for deeper zones of the glacier. The grains cluster around this maximum stress direction, in particular four-point maxima, most likely as a result of recrystallisation under relatively warm conditions.
Antoine Guillemot, Laurent Baillet, Stéphane Garambois, Xavier Bodin, Agnès Helmstetter, Raphaël Mayoraz, and Eric Larose
The Cryosphere, 15, 501–529,Short summary
Among mountainous permafrost landforms, rock glaciers are composed of boulders, fine frozen materials, water and ice in various proportions. Displacement rates of active rock glaciers can reach several m/yr, contributing to emerging risks linked to gravitational hazards. Thanks to passive seismic monitoring, resonance effects related to seasonal freeze–thawing processes of the shallower layers have been monitored and modeled. This method is an accurate tool for studying rock glaciers at depth.
Leif S. Anderson, William H. Armstrong, Robert S. Anderson, and Pascal Buri
The Cryosphere, 15, 265–282,Short summary
Many glaciers are thinning rapidly beneath debris cover (loose rock) that reduces melt, including Kennicott Glacier in Alaska. This contradiction has been explained by melt hotspots, such as ice cliffs, scattered within the debris cover. However, at Kennicott Glacier declining ice flow explains the rapid thinning. Through this study, Kennicott Glacier is now the first glacier in Alaska, and the largest glacier globally, where melt across its debris-covered tongue has been rigorously quantified.
Lea Hartl, Lucia Felbauer, Gabriele Schwaizer, and Andrea Fischer
The Cryosphere, 14, 4063–4081,Short summary
When glaciers become snow-free in summer, darker glacier ice is exposed. The ice surface is darker than snow and absorbs more radiation, which increases ice melt. We measured how much radiation is reflected at different wavelengths in the ablation zone of Jamtalferner, Austria. Due to impurities and water on the ice surface there are large variations in reflectance. Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 surface reflectance products do not capture the full range of reflectance found on the glacier.
Vincent Peyaud, Coline Bouchayer, Olivier Gagliardini, Christian Vincent, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet, Delphine Six, and Olivier Laarman
The Cryosphere, 14, 3979–3994,Short summary
Alpine glaciers are retreating at an accelerating rate in a warming climate. Numerical models allow us to study and anticipate these changes, but the performance of a model is difficult to evaluate. So we compared an ice flow model with the long dataset of observations obtained between 1979 and 2015 on Mer de Glace (Mont Blanc area). The model accurately reconstructs the past evolution of the glacier. We simulate the future evolution of Mer de Glace; it could retreat by 2 to 6 km by 2050.
Gregory Church, Melchior Grab, Cédric Schmelzbach, Andreas Bauder, and Hansruedi Maurer
The Cryosphere, 14, 3269–3286,Short summary
In this field study, we repeated ground-penetrating radar measurements over an active englacial channel network that transports meltwater through the glacier. We successfully imaged the englacial meltwater pathway and were able to delimitate the channel's shape. Meltwater from the glacier can impact the glacier's dynamics if it reaches the ice–bed interface, and therefore monitoring these englacial drainage networks is important to understand how these networks behave throughout a season.
Argha Banerjee, Disha Patil, and Ajinkya Jadhav
The Cryosphere, 14, 3235–3247,Short summary
Simple models of glacier dynamics based on volume–area scaling underestimate climate sensitivity and response time of glaciers. Consequently, they may predict a faster response and a smaller long-term glacier loss. These biases in scaling models are established theoretically and are analysed in detail by simulating the step response of a set of 703 Himalayan glaciers separately by three different models: a scaling model, a 2-D shallow-ice approximation model, and a linear-response model.
Junfeng Liu, Rensheng Chen, and Chuntan Han
The Cryosphere, 14, 967–984,Short summary
Glacier surface roughness during melting season was observed by manual and automatic photogrammetry. Surface roughness was larger at the snow and ice transition zone than in fully snow- or ice-covered areas. Persistent snowfall and rainfall both reduce surface roughness. High or rising turbulent heat as a component of surface energy balance tended to produce a smooth ice surface; low or decreasing turbulent heat tended to produce a rougher surface.
Christian Vincent, Adrien Gilbert, Bruno Jourdain, Luc Piard, Patrick Ginot, Vladimir Mikhalenko, Philippe Possenti, Emmanuel Le Meur, Olivier Laarman, and Delphine Six
The Cryosphere, 14, 925–934,Short summary
We observed very low glacier thickness changes over the last decades at very-high-elevation glaciated areas on Mont Blanc. Conversely, measurements performed in deep boreholes since 1994 reveal strong changes in englacial temperature reaching 1.5 °C at a depth of 50 m. We conclude that at such very high elevations, current changes in climate do not lead to visible changes in glacier thickness but cause invisible changes within the glacier in terms of englacial temperatures.
Levan G. Tielidze, Tobias Bolch, Roger D. Wheate, Stanislav S. Kutuzov, Ivan I. Lavrentiev, and Michael Zemp
The Cryosphere, 14, 585–598,Short summary
We present data of supra-glacial debris cover for 659 glaciers across the Greater Caucasus based on satellite images from the years 1986, 2000 and 2014. We combined semi-automated methods for mapping the clean ice with manual digitization of debris-covered glacier parts and calculated supra-glacial debris-covered area as the residual between these two maps. The distribution of the supra-glacial debris cover differs between northern and southern and between western, central and eastern Caucasus.
Lisbeth Langhammer, Melchior Grab, Andreas Bauder, and Hansruedi Maurer
The Cryosphere, 13, 2189–2202,Short summary
We have developed a novel procedure for glacier thickness estimations that combines traditional glaciological modeling constraints with ground-truth data, for example, those obtained with ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements. This procedure is very useful for determining ice volume when only limited data are available. Furthermore, we outline a strategy for acquiring GPR data on glaciers, such that the cost/benefit ratio is optimized.
Nico Mölg, Tobias Bolch, Andrea Walter, and Andreas Vieli
The Cryosphere, 13, 1889–1909,Short summary
Debris can partly protect glaciers from melting. But many debris-covered glaciers change similar to debris-free glaciers. To better understand the debris influence we investigated 150 years of evolution of Zmutt Glacier in Switzerland. We found an increase in debris extent over time and a link to glacier flow velocity changes. We also found an influence of debris on the melt locally, but only a small volume change reduction over the whole glacier, also because of the influence of ice cliffs.
Harry Zekollari, Matthias Huss, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere, 13, 1125–1146,Short summary
Glaciers in the European Alps play an important role in the hydrological cycle, act as a source for hydroelectricity and have a large touristic importance. We model the future evolution of all glaciers in the Alps with a novel model that combines both ice flow and melt processes. We find that under a limited warming scenario about one-third of the present-day ice volume will still be present by the end of the century, while under strong warming more than 90 % of the volume will be lost by 2100.
Tobias Zolles, Fabien Maussion, Stephan Peter Galos, Wolfgang Gurgiser, and Lindsey Nicholson
The Cryosphere, 13, 469–489,Short summary
A mass and energy balance model was subjected to sensitivity and uncertainty analysis on two different Alpine glaciers. The global sensitivity analysis allowed for a mass balance measurement independent assessment of the model sensitivity and functioned as a reduction of the model free parameter space. A novel approach of a multi-objective optimization estimates the uncertainty of the simulated mass balance and the energy fluxes. The final model uncertainty is up to 1300 kg m−3 per year.
Matthew Olson and Summer Rupper
The Cryosphere, 13, 29–40,Short summary
Solar radiation is the largest energy input for most alpine glaciers. However, many models oversimplify the influence of topographic shading. Also, no systematic studies have explored the variable impact of shading on glacier ice. We find that shading can significantly impact modeled solar radiation, particularly at low elevations, at high latitudes, and for glaciers with a north/south orientation. Excluding the effects of shading will overestimate modeled solar radiation for alpine glaciers.
Michael Sigl, Nerilie J. Abram, Jacopo Gabrieli, Theo M. Jenk, Dimitri Osmont, and Margit Schwikowski
The Cryosphere, 12, 3311–3331,Short summary
The fast retreat of Alpine glaciers since the mid-19th century documented in photographs is used as a symbol for the human impact on global climate, yet the key driving forces remain elusive. Here we argue that not industrial soot but volcanic eruptions were responsible for an apparently accelerated deglaciation starting in the 1850s. Our findings support a negligible role of human activity in forcing glacier recession at the end of the Little Ice Age, highlighting the role of natural drivers.
Zhiyuan Cong, Shaopeng Gao, Wancang Zhao, Xin Wang, Guangming Wu, Yulan Zhang, Shichang Kang, Yongqin Liu, and Junfeng Ji
The Cryosphere, 12, 3177–3186,Short summary
Cryoconites from glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding area were studied for iron oxides. We found that goethite is the predominant iron oxide form. Using the abundance, speciation and optical properties of iron oxides, the total light absorption was quantitatively attributed to goethite, hematite, black carbon and organic matter. Such findings are essential to understand the relative significance of anthropogenic and natural impacts.
Denis Cohen, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet, Wilfried Haeberli, Horst Machguth, and Urs H. Fischer
The Cryosphere, 12, 2515–2544,Short summary
As part of an integrative study about the safety of repositories for radioactive waste under ice age conditions in Switzerland, we modeled the flow of ice of the Rhine glacier at the Last Glacial Maximum to determine conditions at the ice–bed interface. Results indicate that portions of the ice lobes were at the melting temperature and ice was sliding, two conditions necessary for erosion by glacier. Conditions at the bed of the ice lobes were affected by climate and also by topography.
Marion Réveillet, Delphine Six, Christian Vincent, Antoine Rabatel, Marie Dumont, Matthieu Lafaysse, Samuel Morin, Vincent Vionnet, and Maxime Litt
The Cryosphere, 12, 1367–1386,
Christoph Klug, Erik Bollmann, Stephan Peter Galos, Lindsey Nicholson, Rainer Prinz, Lorenzo Rieg, Rudolf Sailer, Johann Stötter, and Georg Kaser
The Cryosphere, 12, 833–849,Short summary
This study presents a reanalysis of the glacier mass balance record at Hintereisferner, Austria, for the period 2001 to 2011. We provide a year-by-year comparison of glaciological and geodetic mass balances obtained from annual airborne laser scanning data. After applying a series of corrections, a comparison of the methods reveals major differences for certain years. We thoroughly discuss the origin of these discrepancies and implications for future glaciological mass balance measurements.
Martin Beniston, Daniel Farinotti, Markus Stoffel, Liss M. Andreassen, Erika Coppola, Nicolas Eckert, Adriano Fantini, Florie Giacona, Christian Hauck, Matthias Huss, Hendrik Huwald, Michael Lehning, Juan-Ignacio López-Moreno, Jan Magnusson, Christoph Marty, Enrique Morán-Tejéda, Samuel Morin, Mohamed Naaim, Antonello Provenzale, Antoine Rabatel, Delphine Six, Johann Stötter, Ulrich Strasser, Silvia Terzago, and Christian Vincent
The Cryosphere, 12, 759–794,Short summary
This paper makes a rather exhaustive overview of current knowledge of past, current, and future aspects of cryospheric issues in continental Europe and makes a number of reflections of areas of uncertainty requiring more attention in both scientific and policy terms. The review paper is completed by a bibliography containing 350 recent references that will certainly be of value to scholars engaged in the fields of glacier, snow, and permafrost research.
Jakob F. Steiner, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Sergiu G. Jiduc, and Walter W. Immerzeel
The Cryosphere, 12, 95–101,Short summary
Glaciers that once every few years or decades suddenly advance in length – also known as surging glaciers – are found in many glaciated regions in the world. In the Karakoram glacier tongues are additionally located at low altitudes and relatively close to human settlements. We investigate a very recent and extremely rapid surge in the region that has caused a lake to form in the main valley with possible risks for downstream communities.
Levan G. Tielidze and Roger D. Wheate
The Cryosphere, 12, 81–94,Short summary
This is one of the first papers containing the Greater Caucasus glacier area and number change over the 1960–2014 period by individual river basins and countries. During the research we used old topographical maps and Corona imagery from the 1960s, and Landsat/ASTER imagery from 1986/2014. The separate sections and slopes have been revealed where there are the highest indices of the reduction in the area of the glaciers.
Biagio Di Mauro, Giovanni Baccolo, Roberto Garzonio, Claudia Giardino, Dario Massabò, Andrea Piazzalunga, Micol Rossini, and Roberto Colombo
The Cryosphere, 11, 2393–2409,Short summary
In the paper, we demonstrate the potential of field and satellite hyperspectral reflectance data in characterizing the spatial distribution of impurities on the Morteratsch Glacier. In situ reflectance spectra showed that impurities reduced ice reflectance in visible wavelengths by 80–90 %. Satellite data also showed the outcropping of dust during the melting season in the upper parts of the glacier. Laboratory measurements of cryoconite showed the presence of elemental and organic carbon.
Douglas I. Benn, Sarah Thompson, Jason Gulley, Jordan Mertes, Adrian Luckman, and Lindsey Nicholson
The Cryosphere, 11, 2247–2264,Short summary
This paper provides the first complete view of the drainage system of a large Himalayan glacier, based on ice-cave exploration and satellite image analysis. Drainage tunnels inside glaciers have a major impact on melting rates, by providing lines of weakness inside the ice and potential pathways for melt-water, and play a key role in the response of debris-covered glaciers to sustained periods of negative mass balance.
Lucas Ruiz, Etienne Berthier, Maximiliano Viale, Pierre Pitte, and Mariano H. Masiokas
The Cryosphere, 11, 619–634,Short summary
Our paper assesses the glacier mass change in the northern Patagonian Andes of Argentina and Chile, which is crucial to understanding how climate change is affecting them. We have found that between 2000 and 2012, glaciers in this region were slightly out of balance, with larger valley glaciers losing more mass than smaller mountain glaciers. The slightly negative mass balance of the northern Patagonian Andes contrasts with the highly negative mass balance of the Patagonian ice fields.
Tobias Bolch, Tino Pieczonka, Kriti Mukherjee, and Joseph Shea
The Cryosphere, 11, 531–539,Short summary
Previous geodetic estimates of glacier mass changes in the Karakoram have revealed balanced budgets or a possible slight mass gain since the year ∼ 2000. We used old US reconnaissance imagery and could show that glaciers in the Hunza River basin (Central Karakoram) experienced on average no significant mass changes also since the 1970s. Likewise the glaciers had heterogeneous behaviour with frequent surge activities during the last 40 years.
Andrea Fischer, Kay Helfricht, and Martin Stocker-Waldhuber
The Cryosphere, 10, 2941–2952,Short summary
In the Alps, glacier cover, snow farming and technical snow production were introduced as adaptation measures to climate change one decade ago. Comparing elevation changes in areas with and without mass balance management in five ski resorts showed that locally up to 20 m of ice thickness was preserved compared to non-maintained areas. The method can be applied to maintainance of skiing infrastructure but has also some potential for melt management at high and dry glaciers.
Tobias Sauter and Stephan Peter Galos
The Cryosphere, 10, 2887–2905,Short summary
The paper deals with the micrometeorological conditions on mountain glaciers. We use idealized large-eddy simulations to study the heat transport associated with the local wind systems and its impact on the energy exchange between atmosphere and glaciers. Our results demonstrate how the sensible heat flux variablility on glaciers is related to topographic effects and that the energy surplus is strong enough to significantly increase the local glacier melting rates.
Pascal Sirguey, Holly Still, Nicolas J. Cullen, Marie Dumont, Yves Arnaud, and Jonathan P. Conway
The Cryosphere, 10, 2465–2484,Short summary
Fourteen years of satellite observations are used to monitor the albedo of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand and estimate annual and seasonal balances. This confirms the governing role of the summer balance in the annual balance and allows the reconstruction of the annual balance to 1977 using a photographic record of the snowline. The longest mass balance record for a New Zealand glacier shows negative balances after 2008, yielding a loss of 35 % of the gain accumulated over the previous 30 years.
Joshua M. Maurer, Summer B. Rupper, and Joerg M. Schaefer
The Cryosphere, 10, 2203–2215,Short summary
Here we utilize declassified spy satellite imagery to quantify ice volume loss of glaciers in the eastern Himalayas over approximately the last three decades. Clean-ice and debris-covered glaciers show similar magnitudes of ice loss, while calving glaciers are contributing a disproportionately large amount to total ice loss. Results highlight important physical processes affecting the ice mass budget and associated water resources in the Himalayas.
Silvan Ragettli, Tobias Bolch, and Francesca Pellicciotti
The Cryosphere, 10, 2075–2097,Short summary
This study presents a multi-temporal dataset of geodetically derived elevation changes on debris-free and debris-covered glaciers in the Langtang valley, Nepalese Himalaya. Overall, we observe accelerated glacier wastage, but highly heterogeneous spatial patterns and temporal trends across glaciers. Accelerations in thinning correlate with the presence of supraglacial cliffs and lakes, whereas thinning rates remained constant or declined on stagnating debris-covered glacier areas.
Levan G. Tielidze
The Cryosphere, 10, 713–725,Short summary
This article presents the percentage and quantitative changes in the number and area of glaciers for all Georgian Caucasus in the years 1911–1960–2014, by individual river basins, by comparing recent Landsat and ASTER images (2014) with older topographical maps (1911, 1960) along with middle and high mountain meteorological stations data.
Juan Ignacio López-Moreno, Jesús Revuelto, Ibai Rico, Javier Chueca-Cía, Asunción Julián, Alfredo Serreta, Enrique Serrano, Sergio Martín Vicente-Serrano, Cesar Azorin-Molina, Esteban Alonso-González, and José María García-Ruiz
The Cryosphere, 10, 681–694,Short summary
This paper analyzes the evolution of the Monte Perdido Glacier, Spanish Pyrenees, since 1981. Changes in ice volume were estimated by geodetic methods and terrestrial laser scanning. An acceleration in ice thinning is detected during the 21st century. Local climatic changes observed during the study period do not seem sufficient to explain the acceleration. The strong disequilibrium between the glacier and the current climate and feedback mechanisms seems to be the most plausible explanation.
Roberto Sergio Azzoni, Antonella Senese, Andrea Zerboni, Maurizio Maugeri, Claudio Smiraglia, and Guglielmina Adele Diolaiuti
The Cryosphere, 10, 665–679,Short summary
In spite of quite abundant literature focusing on fine debris deposition over snow of glacier accumulation areas, less attention has been paid to the ice of the glacier melting surface. Accordingly, we developed a method for estimating ice albedo from fine debris cover quantified by a semi-automatic method. Our procedure was tested on the surface of the Forni Glacier (Italian Alps), acquiring parallel data sets of in situ measurements of ice albedo and high-resolution images.
H. Nagai, K. Fujita, A. Sakai, T. Nuimura, and T. Tadono
The Cryosphere, 10, 65–85,Short summary
Digital glacier inventories are invaluable data sets for revealing the characteristics of glacier distribution. However, quantitative comparison of present inventories was not performed. Here, we present a new inventory manually delineated from Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) imagery and compare it with existing inventories for the Bhutan Himalaya. Quantification of overlapping among available glacier outlines suggests consistency and recent improvement of their delineation quality.
D. R. Rounce, D. J. Quincey, and D. C. McKinney
The Cryosphere, 9, 2295–2310,Short summary
A debris-covered glacier energy balance was used to model debris temperatures and sub-debris ablation rates on Imja-Lhotse Shar Glacier during the 2014 melt season. Field measurements were used to assess model performance. A novel method was also developed using Structure from Motion to estimate the surface roughness. Lastly, the effects of temporal resolution, i.e., 6h and daily time steps, and various methods for estimating the latent heat flux were also investigated.
K. E. Allstadt, D. E. Shean, A. Campbell, M. Fahnestock, and S. D. Malone
The Cryosphere, 9, 2219–2235,Short summary
Terrestrial radar interferometry measurements allow us to capture the entire velocity field of several alpine glaciers at Mount Rainier, WA, and investigate glacier dynamics. We analyze spatial patterns and compare repeat measurements to investigate diurnal and seasonal glacier changes. We find no significant diurnal variability but a very large seasonal slowdown (25 to 50%) from July to November likely due to changes in subglacial water storage. Modeling suggests 91-99% of motion is sliding.
R. J. Braithwaite
The Cryosphere, 9, 2135–2148,Short summary
Kurowski suggested in 1891 that ELA is equal to the mean altitude of the glacier when the glacier is in balance. I compare mean altitude with balanced-budget ELA for 103 modern glaciers. Kurowski’s mean altitude is significantly higher (at 95% level) than balanced-budget ELA for 19 outlet and 42 valley glaciers, but not significantly higher for 34 mountain glaciers. The error in Kurowski mean altitude as a predictor of balanced budget might be due to non-linearity in balance gradients.
N. Holzer, S. Vijay, T. Yao, B. Xu, M. Buchroithner, and T. Bolch
The Cryosphere, 9, 2071–2088,Short summary
Investigations of glacier mass-balance and area changes at Muztagh Ata (eastern Pamir) are based on Hexagon KH-9 (1973), ALOS-PRISM (2009), Pléiades (2013) and Landsat 7 ETM+/SRTM-3 (2000). Surface velocities of Kekesayi Glacier are derived by TerraSAR-X (2011) amplitude tracking. Glacier variations differ spatially and temporally, but on average not significantly for the entire massif. Stagnant Kekesayi and other debris-covered glaciers indicate no visual length changes, but clear down-wasting.
E. Collier, F. Maussion, L. I. Nicholson, T. Mölg, W. W. Immerzeel, and A. B. G. Bush
The Cryosphere, 9, 1617–1632,Short summary
We investigate the impact of surface debris on glacier energy and mass fluxes and on atmosphere-glacier feedbacks in the Karakoram range, by including debris in an interactively coupled atmosphere-glacier model. The model is run from 1 May to 1 October 2004, with a simple specification of debris thickness. We find an appreciable reduction in ablation that exceeds 5m w.e. on glacier tongues, as well as significant alterations to near-surface air temperatures and boundary layer dynamics.
J. Gabbi, M. Huss, A. Bauder, F. Cao, and M. Schwikowski
The Cryosphere, 9, 1385–1400,Short summary
Light-absorbing impurities in snow and ice increase the absorption of solar radiation and thus enhance melting. We investigated the effect of Saharan dust and black carbon on the mass balance of an Alpine glacier over 1914-2014. Snow impurities increased melt by 15-19% depending on the location on the glacier. From the accumulation area towards the equilibrium line, the effect of impurities increased as more frequent years with negative mass balance led to a re-exposure of dust-enriched layers.
L. Sold, M. Huss, A. Eichler, M. Schwikowski, and M. Hoelzle
The Cryosphere, 9, 1075–1087,Short summary
This study presents a method for estimating annual accumulation rates on a temperate Alpine glacier based on the interpretation of internal reflection horizons in helicopter-borne ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data. In combination with a simple model for firn densification and refreezing of meltwater, GPR can be used not only to complement existing mass balance monitoring programmes but also to retrospectively extend newly initiated time series.
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Pyrenean glaciers are currently the southernmost glaciers in Europe. Using an exceptional archive of historical data sets and recent accurate observations, we propose the reconstruction of the length, area, elevation, and mass balance of Ossoue Glacier (French Pyrenees) since the Little Ice Age. We show that its evolution is in good agreement with climatic data. Assuming that the current ablation rate stays constant, Ossoue Glacier will disappear midway through the 21st century.
Pyrenean glaciers are currently the southernmost glaciers in Europe. Using an exceptional...