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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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The Cryosphere, 6, 661-673, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Jun 2012
Spatial patterns of North Atlantic Oscillation influence on mass balance variability of European glaciers
B. Marzeion1 and A. Nesje2 1Center of Climate and Cryosphere, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
2Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, and Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Abstract. We present and validate a set of minimal models of glacier mass balance variability. The most skillful model is then applied to reconstruct 7735 individual time series of mass balance variability for all glaciers in the European Alps and Scandinavia. Subsequently, we investigate the influence of atmospheric variability associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on the glaciers' mass balances.

We find a spatial coherence in the glaciers' sensitivity to NAO forcing which is caused by regionally similar mechanisms relating the NAO forcing to the mass balance: in southwestern Scandinavia, winter precipitation causes a correlation of mass balances with the NAO. In northern Scandinavia, temperature anomalies outside the core winter season cause an anti-correlation between NAO and mass balances. In the western Alps, both temperature and winter precipitation anomalies lead to a weak anti-correlation of mass balances with the NAO, while in the eastern Alps, the influences of winter precipitation and temperature anomalies tend to cancel each other, and only on the southern side a slight anti-correlation of mass balances with the NAO prevails.

Citation: Marzeion, B. and Nesje, A.: Spatial patterns of North Atlantic Oscillation influence on mass balance variability of European glaciers, The Cryosphere, 6, 661-673, doi:10.5194/tc-6-661-2012, 2012.
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