Faculté des sciences

Common climatic signal from glaciers in the European Alps over the last 50 years

Vincent, C. ; Fischer, A. ; Mayer, C. ; Bauder, Andreas ; Galos, S. P. ; Funk, Martin ; Thibert, E. ; Six, D. ; Braun, L. ; Huss, Matthias

In: Geophysical Research Letters, 2017, vol. 44, no. 3, p. 1376–1383

Conventional glacier-wide mass balances are commonly used to study the effect of climate forcing on glacier melt. Unfortunately, the glacier-wide mass balances are also influenced by the glacier's dynamic response. Investigations on the effects of climate forcing on glaciers can be largely improved by analyzing point mass balances. Using a statistical model, we have found that 52% of the... Di più

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    Summary
    Conventional glacier-wide mass balances are commonly used to study the effect of climate forcing on glacier melt. Unfortunately, the glacier-wide mass balances are also influenced by the glacier's dynamic response. Investigations on the effects of climate forcing on glaciers can be largely improved by analyzing point mass balances. Using a statistical model, we have found that 52% of the year-to-year deviations in the point mass balances of six glaciers distributed across the entire European Alps can be attributed to a common variability. Point mass balance changes reveal remarkable regional consistencies reaching 80% for glaciers less than 10 km apart. Compared to the steady state conditions of the 1962–1982 period, the surface mass balance changes are −0.85 m water equivalent (w.e.) a⁻¹ for 1983–2002 and −1.63 m w.e. a⁻¹ for 2003–2013. This indicates a clear and regionally consistent acceleration of mass loss over recent decades over the entire European Alps.