Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
The Cryosphere, 9, 2135–2148, 2015
The Cryosphere, 9, 2135–2148, 2015

Research article 18 Nov 2015

Research article | 18 Nov 2015

From Doktor Kurowski's Schneegrenze to our modern glacier equilibrium line altitude (ELA)

R. J. Braithwaite


Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Peer-review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
AR by Roger Braithwaite on behalf of the Authors (21 Sep 2015)  Author's response    Manuscript
ED: Publish subject to technical corrections (02 Oct 2015) by Etienne Berthier
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.