Faculté des sciences

Evidence of accelerated englacial warming in the Monte Rosa area, Switzerland/Italy

Hoelzle, Martin ; Darms, G. ; Lüthi, M. P. ; Suter, Stefan M.

In: The Cryosphere, 2011, vol. 5, no. 1, p. 231-243

A range of englacial temperature measurements was acquired in the Monte Rosa area at the border of Switzerland and Italy in the years 1982, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2008. Englacial temperatures revealed no evidence of warming at the firn saddle of Colle Gnifetti at 4452 m a.s.l. between 1982 and 1991, the 1991 to 2000 period showed an increase of 0.05 °C per year at a depth... Plus

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    Summary
    A range of englacial temperature measurements was acquired in the Monte Rosa area at the border of Switzerland and Italy in the years 1982, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2008. Englacial temperatures revealed no evidence of warming at the firn saddle of Colle Gnifetti at 4452 m a.s.l. between 1982 and 1991, the 1991 to 2000 period showed an increase of 0.05 °C per year at a depth of 20 m. From 2000 to 2008 a further increase of 1.3 °C or 0.16 °C per year was observed, indicating that the amount of infiltrating and refreezing meltwater at Colle Gnifetti has probably increased since 2000. The measured temperatures give clear evidence of firn warming since 1991. This is confirmed by five existing boreholes with measured temperature down to bedrock, which were drilled in 1982, 1995, 2003 and 2005. All the observed temperature profiles show a slight bending to warmer temperatures in their uppermost part indicating a warming of the firn, which can be related to the observed atmospheric warming in the 20th century. However, the drilling sites on Colle Gnifetti are still located in the recrystallisation-infiltration zone.