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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 3 | Copyright
The Cryosphere, 12, 833-849, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Mar 2018

Research article | 06 Mar 2018

Geodetic reanalysis of annual glaciological mass balances (2001–2011) of Hintereisferner, Austria

Christoph Klug1, Erik Bollmann1, Stephan Peter Galos2, Lindsey Nicholson2, Rainer Prinz3, Lorenzo Rieg1, Rudolf Sailer1, Johann Stötter1, and Georg Kaser2 Christoph Klug et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Institute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Department of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, Austria

Abstract. This study presents a reanalysis of the glaciologically obtained annual glacier mass balances at Hintereisferner, Ötztal Alps, Austria, for the period 2001–2011. The reanalysis is accomplished through a comparison with geodetically derived mass changes, using annual high-resolution airborne laser scanning (ALS). The grid-based adjustments for the method-inherent differences are discussed along with associated uncertainties and discrepancies of the two methods of mass balance measurements. A statistical comparison of the two datasets shows no significant difference for seven annual, as well as the cumulative, mass changes over the 10-year record. Yet, the statistical view hides significant differences in the mass balance years 2002/03 (glaciological minus geodetic records = +0.92mw.e.), 2005/06 (+0.60mw.e.), and 2006/07 (−0.45mw.e.). We conclude that exceptional meteorological conditions can render the usual glaciological observational network inadequate. Furthermore, we consider that ALS data reliably reproduce the annual mass balance and can be seen as validation or calibration tools for the glaciological method.

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Short summary
This study presents a reanalysis of the glacier mass balance record at Hintereisferner, Austria, for the period 2001 to 2011. We provide a year-by-year comparison of glaciological and geodetic mass balances obtained from annual airborne laser scanning data. After applying a series of corrections, a comparison of the methods reveals major differences for certain years. We thoroughly discuss the origin of these discrepancies and implications for future glaciological mass balance measurements.
This study presents a reanalysis of the glacier mass balance record at Hintereisferner, Austria,...