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Four decades of winter mass balance of Vernagtferner and Hintereisferner, Austria: methodology and results

  • Heidi Escher-Vetter (a1), Michael Kuhn (a2) (a3) and Markus Weber (a1) (a2)

Abstract

In this study, long-term series of winter mass balances from two neighbouring glaciers in the southern Oetztal Alps, Austria, i.e. Hintereisferner and Vernagtferner, are analyzed with respect to the methods used in their determination. For this purpose, (1) some basic data of field surveys are presented, (2) the influence of different temporal systems is discussed, and (3) the profile, contour and a ‘model’ method based on energy-balance ablation modelling and measured net mass balance are discussed with respect to the reliability of the resulting series. The main findings of the investigations are: (1) The winter mass-balance series for Hintereisferner and Vernagtferner as determined with all applied methods result in a reliable climatologic average of 1000±100mmw.e. (2) When using the profile method, different spatial integration approaches are quite sensitive to the altitudinal coverage and the spatial pattern of observations. (3) The error of the model method occurs randomly, whereas contour as well as profile-method errors are more systematic. (4) Filtered time series from the two glaciers show similar tendencies for the last three decades.

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References

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