Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
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
Related subject area
Alpine GlaciersDebris cover and the thinning of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska: in situ measurements, automated ice cliff delineation and distributed melt estimatesSmall-scale spatial variability in bare-ice reflectance at Jamtalferner, AustriaNumerical modeling of the dynamics of the Mer de Glace glacier, French Alps: comparison with past observations and forecasting of near-future evolutionMonitoring the seasonal changes of an englacial conduit network using repeated ground-penetrating radar measurementsPossible biases in scaling-based estimates of glacier change: a case study in the HimalayaModal sensitivity of rock glaciers to elastic changes from spectral seismic noise monitoring and modelingCrystallographic analysis of temperate ice on Rhonegletscher, Swiss AlpsSpatial and temporal variations in glacier aerodynamic surface roughness during the melting season, as estimated at the August-one ice cap, Qilian mountains, ChinaStrong changes in englacial temperatures despite insignificant changes in ice thickness at Dôme du Goûter glacier (Mont Blanc area)Supra-glacial debris cover changes in the Greater Caucasus from 1986 to 2014Glacier thickness estimations of alpine glaciers using data and modeling constraintsUnravelling the evolution of Zmuttgletscher and its debris cover since the end of the Little Ice AgeModelling the future evolution of glaciers in the European Alps under the EURO-CORDEX RCM ensembleRobust uncertainty assessment of the spatio-temporal transferability of glacier mass and energy balance modelsImpacts of topographic shading on direct solar radiation for valley glaciers in complex topography19th century glacier retreat in the Alps preceded the emergence of industrial black carbon deposition on high-alpine glaciersIron oxides in the cryoconite of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau: abundance, speciation and implicationsNumerical reconstructions of the flow and basal conditions of the Rhine glacier, European Central Alps, at the Last Glacial MaximumRelative performance of empirical and physical models in assessing the seasonal and annual glacier surface mass balance of Saint-Sorlin Glacier (French Alps)Geodetic reanalysis of annual glaciological mass balances (2001–2011) of Hintereisferner, AustriaThe European mountain cryosphere: a review of its current state, trends, and future challengesBrief communication: The Khurdopin glacier surge revisited – extreme flow velocities and formation of a dammed lake in 2017The Greater Caucasus Glacier Inventory (Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan)Impact of impurities and cryoconite on the optical properties of the Morteratsch Glacier (Swiss Alps)Structure and evolution of the drainage system of a Himalayan debris-covered glacier, and its relationship with patterns of mass lossRecent geodetic mass balance of Monte Tronador glaciers, northern Patagonian AndesBrief communication: Glaciers in the Hunza catchment (Karakoram) have been nearly in balance since the 1970sLocal reduction of decadal glacier thickness loss through mass balance management in ski resortsEffects of local advection on the spatial sensible heat flux variation on a mountain glacierReconstructing the mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, using MODIS-derived glacier-wide albedoQuantifying ice loss in the eastern Himalayas since 1974 using declassified spy satellite imageryHeterogeneous glacier thinning patterns over the last 40 years in Langtang Himal, NepalGlacier change over the last century, Caucasus Mountains, Georgia, observed from old topographical maps, Landsat and ASTER satellite imageryThinning of the Monte Perdido Glacier in the Spanish Pyrenees since 1981Estimating ice albedo from fine debris cover quantified by a semi-automatic method: the case study of Forni Glacier, Italian AlpsComparison of multiple glacier inventories with a new inventory derived from high-resolution ALOS imagery in the Bhutan HimalayaDebris-covered glacier energy balance model for Imja–Lhotse Shar Glacier in the Everest region of NepalObservations of seasonal and diurnal glacier velocities at Mount Rainier, Washington, using terrestrial radar interferometryFour decades of glacier variations at Muztagh Ata (eastern Pamir): a multi-sensor study including Hexagon KH-9 and Pléiades dataEvolution of Ossoue Glacier (French Pyrenees) since the end of the Little Ice AgeImpact of debris cover on glacier ablation and atmosphere–glacier feedbacks in the KarakoramThe impact of Saharan dust and black carbon on albedo and long-term mass balance of an Alpine glacierUnlocking annual firn layer water equivalents from ground-penetrating radar data on an Alpine glacierTracing glacier changes in Austria from the Little Ice Age to the present using a lidar-based high-resolution glacier inventory in AustriaBrief Communication: Contending estimates of 2003–2008 glacier mass balance over the Pamir–Karakoram–HimalayaGlacier change in the Cariboo Mountains, British Columbia, Canada (1952–2005)Deglaciation of the Caucasus Mountains, Russia/Georgia, in the 21st century observed with ASTER satellite imagery and aerial photographyPost-LIA glacier changes along a latitudinal transect in the Central Italian AlpsUsing daily air temperature thresholds to evaluate snow melting occurrence and amount on Alpine glaciers by T-index models: the case study of the Forni Glacier (Italy)Changes in Imja Tsho in the Mount Everest region of Nepal
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.
Antoine Guillemot, Laurent Baillet, Stéphane Garambois, Xavier Bodin, Agnès Helmstetter, Raphaël Mayoraz, and Eric Larose
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
Among mountainous permafrost landforms, rock glaciers are composed of boulders, fine frozen materials, water and ice in various proportions. Displacement rate of active rock glaciers can reach several m/yr, addressing 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 then an accurate tool for studying rock glacier at depth.
Sebastian Hellmann, Johanna Kerch, Ilka Weikusat, Andreas Bauder, Melchior Grab, Guillaume Jouvet, Margit Schwikowski, and Hansruedi Maurer
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
In this study, 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 flow direction in the upper parts of the glacier and in 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.
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.
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.
R. Marti, S. Gascoin, T. Houet, O. Ribière, D. Laffly, T. Condom, S. Monnier, M. Schmutz, C. Camerlynck, J. P. Tihay, J. M. Soubeyroux, and P. René
The Cryosphere, 9, 1773–1795,Short summary
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.
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.
A. Fischer, B. Seiser, M. Stocker Waldhuber, C. Mitterer, and J. Abermann
The Cryosphere, 9, 753–766,Short summary
A time series of four Austrian glacier inventories (GIs) from the LIA maximum state up to the year 2006 show a decrease of glacier area to 44% of the LIA area. The annual relative area losses are 0.3%/year for the period GI LIA to GI 1 (1969), with one period with major glacier advances in the 1920s. From GI 1 to GI 2 (1969-1998, one advance period of variable length in the 1980s) glacier area decreased by 0.6%/year, and from GI 2 to GI 3 (10 years, no advance period) by 1.2%/year.
A. Kääb, D. Treichler, C. Nuth, and E. Berthier
The Cryosphere, 9, 557–564,Short summary
Based on satellite laser altimetry over the Pamir--Karakoram Himalaya we detect strongest elevation losses over east Nyainqentanglha Shan and Spiti--Lahaul but slight elevation gains over west Kunlun Shan rather than over Karakoram. The current sea-level contribution of Pamir--Karakoram Himalaya glaciers is about 10% of the total global contribution of glaciers outside the ice sheets. We also improve estimates of glacier imbalance contribution to river discharge in the Himalayas.
M. J. Beedle, B. Menounos, and R. Wheate
The Cryosphere, 9, 65–80,
M. Shahgedanova, G. Nosenko, S. Kutuzov, O. Rototaeva, and T. Khromova
The Cryosphere, 8, 2367–2379,Short summary
The paper investigates changes in the area of 498 glaciers in the main Caucasus ridge and on Mt. Elbrus (the highest summit in geographical Europe), Russia/Georgia in the late 20th and 21st centuries using ASTER and Landsat imagery with 15 m resolution from 1999-2001 and 2010-2012 and aerial photography from 1987-2001. The glacier area decreased by 4.7±2.1% or 19.2±8.7 km2 from 1999-2001 to 2010/12. The recession rates of glacier terminus more than doubled between 1987-2000/01 and 2000/01–2010.
R. Scotti, F. Brardinoni, and G. B. Crosta
The Cryosphere, 8, 2235–2252,Short summary
A post-LIA multitemporal glacier inventory along a latitudinal transect in the Central Italian Alps shows that average annual decrease (AAD) in glacier area has risen by about ten times from 1860--1990 to 1990--2007. When considering glaciers smaller than 0.5 km2, post-1990 AAD follows the latitudinal gradient with maritime-like Orobie glaciers shrinking much less than Disgrazia and Livigno glaciers. We argue that the recent resilience of glaciers in Orobie is due to local climatic decoupling.
A. Senese, M. Maugeri, E. Vuillermoz, C. Smiraglia, and G. Diolaiuti
The Cryosphere, 8, 1921–1933,
M. A. Somos-Valenzuela, D. C. McKinney, D. R. Rounce, and A. C. Byers
The Cryosphere, 8, 1661–1671,
Abermann, J., Lambrecht, A., Fischer, A., and Kuhn, M.: Quantifying changes and trends in glacier area and volume in the Austrian Ötztal Alps (1969–1997–2006), The Cryosphere, 3, 205–215, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-3-205-2009, 2009.
Anonymous: Mass-balance terms, J. Glaciol., 52, 3–7, 1969.
Armstrong, T., Robert, B., and Swithinbank, C.: Illustrated glossary of snow and ice (2nd ed.), Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, 60 pp., 1973.
Baird, P. D.: The glaciological studies of the Baffin Island Expedition, 1950. Part 1, Methods of nourishment of the Barnes Ice Cap, J. Glaciol., 2, 17–19, 1952.
Bakke, J. and Nesje, A.: Equilibrium-Line Altitude (ELA), in: Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers, edited by: Singh, V., Singh, P., and Haritashya, U., Springer, the Netherlands, 268–277, 2011.
Benn, D. I. and Evans, D. J. A.: Glaciers and glaciation, Abingdon, Hodder Education, 802 pp., 2010.
Benn, D. I. and Lehmkuhl, F.: Mass balance and equilibrium line altitudes of glaciers in high-mountain environments, Quatern. Int., 65/66, 15–29, 2000.
Benn, D. I., Owen, L. A., Osmaston, H. A., Seltzer, G. O., Porter, S. C., and Mark, B.: Reconstruction of equilibrium-line altitudes for tropical and sub-tropical glaciers, Quatern. Int., 138–139, 8–21, 2005.
Braithwaite, R. J.: Glacier mass balance: the first 50 years of international monitoring, Prog. Phys. Geogr., 26, 76–95, 2002.
Braithwaite, R. J.: Temperature and precipitation climate at the equilibrium-line altitude of glaciers expressed by the degree-day factor for melting snow, J. Glaciol., 54, 437–444, 2008.
Braithwaite, R. J.: After six decades of monitoring glacier mass balance we still need data but it should be richer data, Ann. Glaciol., 50, 191–197, 2009.
Braithwaite, R. J.: From Doktor Kurowski's Schneegrenze to our modern glacier equilibrium line altitude (ELA), The Cryosphere Discuss., 9, 3165–3204, https://doi.org/10.5194/tcd-9-3165-2015, 2015.
Braithwaite, R. J. and Müller, F.: On the parameterization of glacier equilibrium line, IAHS Publication 126, Riederalp Workshop 1978 – World Glacier Inventory, 263–271, 1980.
Braithwaite, R. J. and Raper, S. C. B: Glaciological conditions in seven contrasting regions estimated with the degree-day model, Ann. Glaciol., 46, 297-302, 2007.
Braithwaite, R. J. and Raper, S. C. B: Estimating equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) from glacier inventory data, Ann. Glaciol., 50, 127–132, 2009.
Braithwaite, R. J. and Zhang, Y.: Modelling changes in glacier mass balance that may occur as a result of climate changes, Geogr. Ann., 81A, 489–496, 1999.
Braithwaite, R. J., Zhang, Y., and Raper, S. C. B: Temperature sensitivity of the mass balance of mountain glaciers and ice caps as a climatological characteristic, Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie, 38, 35–36, 2002.
Brückner, E.: Die hohen Tauern und Ihre Eisbedeckung, eine orometrische Studie, Z. Deut. Österreich. Alpenver., 17, 163–187, 1886.
Carrivick, J. L. and Brewer, T. R.: Improving local estimations and regional trends of glacier equilibrium line altitudes, Geogr. Ann., 86A, 67–79, 2004.
Chinn, T. J. H.: Glacier fluctuations in the Southern Alps of New Zealand determined from snowline elevations, Arctic Alpine Res., 27, 187–198, 1995.
Cogley, J. G. and McIntyre, M. S.: Hess altitudes and other morphological estimators of glacier equilibrium lines, Arct. Antarct. Alp. Res., 35, 482–488, 2003.
Cogley, J. G., Hock, R., Resamussen, L. A., Arendt, A. A., Braithwaite, R. J., Jansson, P., Kaser, G., Möller, M., Nicholson, L., and Zemp, M.: Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms, IHPO-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 86, IACS Contribution No. 2, UNESCO-IHP, Paris, 114 pp., 2011.
Cox, N.: Speaking Stata: graphing agreement and disagreement, Stata J., 4, 329–349, 2004.
Dobhal, D. P.: Median elevation of glaciers. Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers, edited by: Singh, V., Singh, P., and Haritashya, U., Springer, the Netherlands, p. 726, 2011.
Dyurgerov, M.: Glacier mass balance and regime: data of measurements and analysis, Boulder, CO, University of Colorado, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, INSTAAR Occasional Paper 55, 2002.
Dyurgerov, M. and Meier, M. F.: Glaciers and the changing Earth system: a 2004 snapshot. Boulder, CO, University of Colorado. Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, INSTAAR Occasional Paper 58, 2005.
Dyurgerov, M., Meier, M. F., and Bahr, D. B.: A new index of glacier area change: a tool for glacier monitoring, J. Glaciol., 55, 710–716, 2009.
Escher, H.: Die Bestimmung der klimatischen Schneegrenze in den Schweizer Alpen, Geogr. Helv., 25, 35–43, https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-25-35-1970, 1970.
Evans, I. S.: World-wide variations in the direction and concentration of cirque and glacier aspects. Geogr. Ann., 59A, 151–175, 1977.
Evans, I. S.: Local aspect asymmetry of mountain glaciation: a global survey of consistency of favoured directions for glacier numbers and altitudes, Geomorphology, 73, 166–184, 2006.
Fischer, M., Huss, M., Barboux, C., and Hoelzle, M.: The new Swiss Glacier Inventory SG12010: relevance of using high-resolution source data in areas dominated by very small glaciers, Arct. Antarct. Alp. Res., 46, 933–945, 2014.
Furbish, D. J. and Andrews, J. T.: The use of hypsometry to indicate long-term stability and response of valley glaciers to changes in mass transfer, J. Glaciol., 30, 199–211, 1984.
Gafurov, A., Vorogushyn, S., Farinotti, D., Duethmann, D., Merkushkin, A., and Merz, B.: Snow-cover reconstruction methodology for mountainous regions based on historic in situ observations and recent remote sensing data, The Cryosphere, 9, 451–463, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-9-451-2015, 2015.
Gardner, A. S., Moholdt, G., Cogley, J. G., Wouters, B., Arendt, A. A., Wahr, J., Berthier, E., Hock, R., Pfeffer, W. T., Kaser, G., Ligtenberg, S. M., Bolch, T., Sharp, M. J., Hagen, J. O., van den Broeke, M. R., and Paul, F.: A reconclided estimate of glacier contributions to sea level rise: 2003 to 2009, Science 340, 852–857, 2013.
Haeberli, W., Hoelzle, M., Paul, F., and Zemp, M.: Integrated monitoring of mountain glaciers as key indicators of global climate change: the European Alps, Ann. Glaciol., 45, 150–160, 2007.
Hawkins, F. F.: Equilibrium-line altitudes and paleoenvironments in the Merchants Bay area, Baffin Island, N.W.T., Canada, J. Glaciol., 31, 205–213, 1985.
Heim, A.: Handbuch der Gletscherkunde, Stuttgart, Verlag von J. Engelhorn, 560 pp., 1885.
Hess, H. H.: Die Gletscher, Braunschweig, Friedrich Vieweg, 426 pp., 1904.
Heyman, J.: Paleoglaciation of the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountains based on exposure ages and ELA depression estimates, Quaternary Sci. Rev., 91, 30–41, 2014.
Hoinkes, H.: Methoden und Möglichkeiten von Massen-Haushaltsstudien auf Gletschern: Ergebnisse der Messreihe Hintereisferner (Ötztaler Alpen) 1953–1968, Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie VI, 1–2, 37–89, 1970.
Hughes, P. D. and Braithwaite, R. J.: Application of a degree-day model to reconstruct Pleistocene glacial climates, Quaternary Res., 69, 110–116, 2008.
Ignéczi, A. and Nagy, B.: Determining steady accumulation-area ratios of outlet glaciers for application of outlets in climate reconstructions, Quatern. Int., 293, 268–274, 2013.
Jania, J. and Hagen, J. O.: Mass balance of Arctic glaciers. Sosnowiec/Oslo, International Arctic Science Committee, Working Group on Arctic Glaciology, IASC Report 5, 1996.
Jarosch, A. H., Anslow, F. S., and Clarke, G. K. C.: High-resolution precipitation and temperature downscaling for glacier models, Clim. Dynam., 38, 391–409, 2012.
Kaemtz, L. F.: A complete course of meteorology, translated from German by Walker, C. V., London, Hippolyte Bailliére, 598 pp., 1845.
Kaser, G.: Glacier–climate interaction at low latitudes, J. Glaciol., 47, 195–204. https://doi.org/10.3189/172756501781832296, 2001.
Kaser, G. and Osmaston, H.: Tropical glaciers, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 207 pp., 2002.
Kern, Z. and László, P.: Size specific steady-state accumulation-area ratio: an improvement for equilibrium-line estimation of small palaeoglaciers, Quaternary Sci. Rev., 29, 2781–2787, 2010.
Klengel, F.: Die Historische Entwickelung des Begriffs der Schneegrenze von Bouguer bis auf A. v. Humboldt, 1736–1820, Leipzig, Verein der Erdkunde, 87 pp., 1889.
Kotlyakov, V. M. and Krenke, A. N.: Investigations of the hydrological conditions of alpine regions by glaciological methods, IAHS Publication No. 138, Symposium of Exeter 1982 – Hydrological Aspects of Alpine and High Mountain Areas, 31–42, 1982.
Kuhn, M.: Mass budget imbalances as criterion for a climatic classification of glaciers, Geogr. Ann., 66A, 229–238, 1984.
Kurowski, L.: Die Höhe der Schneegrenze mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Finsteraarhorn-Gruppe, Pencks Geographische Abhandlungen 5, 119–160, 1891.
Leonard, K. C. and Fountain, A.: Map-based methods for estimating glacier equilibrium-line altitudes, J. Glaciol., 49, 329–336, 2003.
Liestøl, O.: Storbreen glacier in Jotunheimen, Norway, Nor. Polarinst. Skr., 141, 63 pp., 1967.
Lliboutry, L.: Multivarioate statistical analysis of glacier annual balances, J. Glaciol., 13, 371–392, 1974.
Manley, G.: The late-glacial climate of north-west England, Geol. J., 2, 188–215, 1959.
Mathieu, R., Chinn, T., and Fitzharris, B.: Detecting the equilibrium-line altitudes of New Zealand glaciers using ASTER satellite images, New Zealand, Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 52, 209–222, 2014.
Meierding, T. C.: Late Pleistocene glacial equilibrium-line altitudes in the Colorado Front Range: a comparison of methods, Quaternary Res., 18, 289–310, 1982.
Mousson, A.: Die Gletscher der Jetztzeit, Zurich, Druck und Verlag Fr. Schulhess, 216 pp., 1854.
Müller, F.: Present and late Pleistocene equilibrium line altitudes in the Mt Everest region – an application of the glacier inventory, IAHS Publication 126, Riederalp Workshop 1978 – World Glacier Inventory, 75–94, 1980.
Nesje, A. and Dahl, O.: Glaciers and environmental change, London, Arnold, 203 pp., 2000.
Osmaston, H.: Models for the estimation of firnlines of present and Pleistocene glaciers, in: Peel, R., Chisholm, M., and Haggett, P., Processes in Physical and Human Geography, Bristol Essays, London, Heinemann Education Books, 218–245, 1975.
Osmaston, H.: Estimates of glacier equilibrium line altitudes by the Area × Altitude, the Area × Altitude Balance Ratio and the Area × Altitude Balance Index methods and their validation, Quatern. Int., 138–139, 22–31, 2005.
Østrem, G.: ERTS data in glaciology – an effort to monitor glacier mass balance from satellite imagery, J. Glaciol., 15, 403–415, 1975.
Østrem, G. and Liestøl, O.: Glasiologiske undersøkelser i Norge 1963, Norsk Geografiske Tidsskrift, Norwegian Journal of Geography, 18, 282–340, 1961.
Paschinger, V.: Die Schneegrenze in verschiedenen Klimaten, Petermanns Mitteilungen, 173, 94 pp., 1912.
Paterson, W. S. B.: The physics of glaciers, 3rd ed., Pergamon, Oxford, 480 pp., 1994.
Porter, S. C.: Equilibrium-line altitudes of late Quaternary glaciers in the Southern Alps, New Zealand, Quaternary Res., 5, 27–47, 1975.
Rabatel, A., Dedieu, J. P., and Vincent, C.: Using remote-sensing data to determine equilibrium-line altitude and mass-balance time series: validation on three French glaciers, 1994–2002, J. Glaciol., 51, 539–546, 2005.
Rabatel, A., Bermejo, A., Loarte, E., Soruco, A., Gomez, J., Leonardini, G., Viincent, C., and Sicart, J. E.: Can the snowline be used as an indicator of the equilibrium line and mass balance for glaciers in the outer tropics? J. Glaciol., 58, 1027–1036, 2012.
Rabatel, A., Letréguilly, A., Dedieu, J.-P., and Eckert, N.: Changes in glacier equilibrium-line altitude in the western Alps from 1984 to 2010: evaluation by remote sensing and modeling of the morpho-topographic and climate controls, The Cryosphere, 7, 1455–1471, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-7-1455-2013, 2013.
Radok, U.: Climatic background to some glacier fluctuations. IAHS Publication 126, Riederalp Workshop 1978 – World Glacier Inventory, 295–304, 1980.
Raper, S. C. B. and Braithwaite, R. J.: Low sea level rise projections from mountain glaciers and ice caps under global warming, Nature, 439, 311–313, 2006.
Ratzel, F.: Die Bestimmung der Schneegrenze, Der Naturforscher 1886, Verlag der H. Laupp'schen Buchhandlung in Tübingen, 12 June 1886.
Rea, B. R.: Defining modern day area-altitude balance ratios (AABRs) and their use in glacier-climate reconstructions, Quaternary Sci. Rev., 28, 237–248, 2009.
Reid, H. F.: A proof of Kurowski's rule for determining the height of the neve-line on glaciers. Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde, für Eiszeitforschung und Geschichte des Klimas 3 (1908/1909), 2, 142–144, 1908.
Schytt, V.: The net mass balance of Storglaciäeren, Kebnekaise, Sweden, related to the height of the equilibrium line and to the height of the 500 mb surface. Geogr. Ann., 63A, 219–223, 1981.
Sicart, J. E., Hock, R., Ribstein, P., Litt, M., and Ramirez, E.: Analysis of seasonal variations in mass balance and meltwater discharge of the tropical Zongo Glacier by application of a distributed energy balance model, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D13105. https://doi.org/10.1029/2010JD015105, 2011.
Sissons, J. B.: A late-glacial ice cap in the Central Grampians, Scotland, T. I. Brit. Geogr., 62, 95–114, 1974.
Soruco, A., Vincent, C., Francou, B., Ribstein, P., Berger, T., Sicart, J. E., Wagnon, P., Arnaud, Y., Favier, V., and Lejeune, Y.: Mass balance of Glaciar Zongo, Bolivia, between 1956 and 2006, using glaciological, hydrological and geodetic methods, Ann. Glaciol., 50, 1–8, 2009.
Sutherland, D. G.: Modern glacier characteristics as a basis for inferring former climates with particular reference to the Loch Lomond stadial, Quaterary Sci. Rev., 3, 291–309, 1984.
Tang, Z., Wang, J., Li, H., Liang, J., Li, C., and Wang, X.: Extraction and assessment of snow line altitude over the Tibetan plateau using MODIS fractional snow cover data (2001 to 2013), J. Remote Sens., 8, 084689, 1–13, 2014.
TTS: Instructions for the compilation and assemblage of data for a world glacier inventory, compiled by: Müller, F., Caflisch, T. A., and Müller, G., Temporary Technical Secretariat (TTS) for the World Glacier Inventory, Zürich, ETH Zürich, 29 pp., 1977.
Voloshina, A. P.: Some results of glacier mass research on the glaciers of the Polar Urals, Polar Geography and Geology, 12, 200–211, 1988.
Young, G. J.: The mass balance of Peyto Glacier, Alberta, Canada, 1965 to 1978, Arctic Alpine Res., 13, 307–318, 1981.
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.
Kurowski suggested in 1891 that ELA is equal to the mean altitude of the glacier when the...