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Université de Fribourg

Potential climatic transitions with profound impact on Europe: review of the current state of six ‘tipping elements of the climate system’

Levermann, Anders ; Bamber, Jonathan L. ; Drijfhout, Sybren ; Ganopolski, Andrey ; Haeberli, Winfried ; Harris, Neil R. P. ; Huss, Matthias ; Krüger, Kirstin ; Lenton, Timothy M. ; Lindsay, Ronald W. ; Notz, Dirk ; Wadhams, Peter ; Weber, Susanne

In: Climatic Change, 2011, vol. 110, no. 3-4, p. 845-878

We discuss potential transitions of six climatic subsystems with large-scale impact on Europe, sometimes denoted as tipping elements. These are the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica, the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, Arctic sea ice, Alpine glaciers and northern hemisphere stratospheric ozone. Each system is represented by co-authors actively publishing in the corresponding field....

Université de Fribourg

Evaluating the effect of snow and ice melt in an Alpine headwater catchment and further downstream in the River Rhine

Junghans, Nadine ; Cullmann, Johannes ; Huss, Matthias

In: Hydrological Sciences Journal, 2011, vol. 56, no. 6, p. 981–993

The runoff regime of glacierized headwater catchments in the Alps is essentially characterized by snow and ice melt. High Alpine drainage basins influence distant downstream catchments of the Rhine River basin. In particular, during the summer months, low-flow conditions are probable with strongly reduced snow and ice melt under climate change conditions. This study attempts to quantify present...

Université de Fribourg

Runoff evolution in the Swiss Alps: projections for selected high-alpine catchments based on ENSEMBLES scenario

Farinotti, Daniel ; Usselmann, Stephanie ; Huss, Matthias ; Bauder, Andreas ; Funk, Martin

In: Hydrological Processes, 2011, vol. 25, p. -

The Alps are often referred to as the ‘water tower of Europe’. In Switzerland, many branches of the economy, especially the hydropower industry, are closely linked to and dependent on the availability of water. Assessing the impact of climate change on streamflow runoff is, thus, of great interest. Major efforts have already been made in this respect, but the analyses often focus on...

Université de Fribourg

Present and future contribution of glacier storage change to runoff from macroscale drainage basins in Europe

Huss, Matthias

In: Water Resources Research, 2011, vol. 47, p. W07511

The contribution of glaciers to runoff from large-scale drainage basins in Europe is analyzed for the major streams originating in the Alps: Rhine, Rhone, Po, and Danube. Detailed information on glacier storage change is available from monthly mass balance data of 50 Swiss glaciers for the period 1908–2008. Storage changes are extrapolated to all glaciers in the European Alps. By comparing...

Université de Fribourg

Modelling and numerical simulation of the dynamics of glaciers including local damage effects

Jouvet, G. ; Picasso, M. ; Rappaz, J. ; Huss, Matthias ; Funk, Martin

In: Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena, 2011, vol. 6, no. 05, p. 263-280

A numerical model to compute the dynamics of glaciers is presented. Ice damage due to cracks or crevasses can be taken into account whenever needed. This model allows simulations of the past and future retreat of glaciers, the calving process or the break-off of hanging glaciers. All these phenomena are strongly affected by climate change.Ice is assumed to behave as an incompressible fluid with...

Université de Fribourg

Integrating point glacier mass balance observations into hydrologic model identification

Schaefli, Bettina ; Huss, Matthias

In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2011, vol. 15, p. 1227-1241

The hydrology of high mountainous catchments is often predicted with conceptual precipitation-discharge models that simulate the snow accumulation and ablation behavior of a very complex environment using as only input temperature and precipitation. It is hereby often assumed that some glacier-wide annual balance estimates, in addition to observed discharge, are sufficient to reliably calibrate...

Université de Fribourg

100-year mass changes in the Swiss Alps linked to the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation

Huss, Matthias ; Hock, Regine ; Bauder, Andreas ; Funk, Martin

In: Geophysical Research Letters, 2010, vol. 37, p. L10501

Thirty new 100-year records of glacier surface mass balance, accumulation and melt in the Swiss Alps are presented. The time series are based on a comprehensive set of field data and distributed modeling and provide insights into the glacier-climate linkage. Considerable mass loss over the 20th century is evident for all glaciers, but rates differ strongly. Glacier mass loss shows multidecadal...

Université de Fribourg

Snow accumulation distribution inferred from time-lapse photography and simple modelling

Farinotti, Daniel ; Magnusson, Jan ; Huss, Matthias ; Bauder, Andreas

In: Hydrological Processes, 2010, p. -

The spatial and temporal distribution of snow accumulation is complex and significantly influences the hydrological characteristics of mountain catchments. Many snow redistribution processes, such as avalanching, slushflow or wind drift, are controlled by topography, but their modelling remains challenging. In situ measurements of snow accumulation are laborious and generally have a coarse...

Université de Fribourg

Strong Alpine glacier melt in the 1940s due to enhanced solar radiation

Huss, Matthias ; Funk, M. ; Ohmura, A.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, 2009, vol. 36, p. L23501

A 94-year time series of annual glacier melt at four high elevation sites in the European Alps is used to investigate the effect of global dimming and brightening of solar radiation on glacier mass balance. Snow and ice melt was stronger in the 1940s than in recent years, in spite of significantly higher air temperatures in the present decade. An inner Alpine radiation record shows that in the...