Faculté des sciences

New long-term mass-balance series for the Swiss Alps

Huss, Matthias ; Dhulst, Laurie ; Bauder, Andreas

In: Journal of Glaciology, 2015, vol. 61, no. 227, p. 551–562

In this study we present 19 new or re-analysed series of glacier-wide seasonal mass balance for the Swiss Alps based on direct measurements. The records partly start around 1920 and continue until today. Previously unpublished and unevaluated observations of point winter and annual balance are compiled from various sources and archives. These highly valuable datasets have not yet been... More

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    Summary
    In this study we present 19 new or re-analysed series of glacier-wide seasonal mass balance for the Swiss Alps based on direct measurements. The records partly start around 1920 and continue until today. Previously unpublished and unevaluated observations of point winter and annual balance are compiled from various sources and archives. These highly valuable datasets have not yet been consistently evaluated and were thus unavailable to the scientific community. Using distributed modelling for spatial interpolation and extrapolation and homogenization of the point measurements, we infer continuous series of area-averaged mass balance. The results are validated against independent decadal ice volume changes from photogrammetric surveys. Six of the new seasonal series cover 60 years and more and add a substantial amount of information on the variations of regional glacier mass change. This will strengthen the worldwide collection of glacier monitoring data, especially for the data-sparse period before the 1980s. We compare our results to existing long-term series and present an updated assessment of mass-balance variability and glacier sensitivity throughout the European Alps.