Received: 13 Feb 2018 – Accepted for review: 01 Mar 2018 – Discussion started: 02 Mar 2018
Abstract. Climatic forcing affects glacier length changes, mass balance and ice flow dynamics on different time scales and also dependent on topography. The first two of these parameters are operationally used for glacier monitoring, whereas only a few time series of glacier dynamics exist with the potential to serve as long-term indicators of glacier response to climate change. With more than 100 years of measurements of ice flow velocities at stakes and stone lines on Hintereisferner (HEF) and more than 50 years on Kesselwandferner (KWF), records of annual velocity change are as long as records of glacier fluctuations. Interannual variations of ice flow velocities and shorter supporting interpretations of long-term records have been measured on Gepatschferner (GPF) and Taschachferner (TSF) for nearly 10 years. The ice flow velocities on Hintereisferner and especially on Kesselwandferner show great variations between advancing and retreating periods, with magnitudes increasing from the highest to the lowest stakes, making ice flow records at ablation stakes a very sensitive indicator of glacier state. Since the end of the latest glacier advances from the 1970s to the 1980s, the ice flow velocities have decreased continuously, a strong sign of the severe retreat of the glaciers in recent decades.
How to cite: Stocker-Waldhuber, M., Fischer, A., Helfricht, K., and Kuhn, M.: Ice flow velocity as a sensitive indicator of glacier state, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-37, in review, 2018.