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Comparison of Direct and Geodetic Mass Balances on a Multi-annual Time Scale : Volume 4, Issue 3 (23/07/2010)

By Fischer, A.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003989016
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 44
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Comparison of Direct and Geodetic Mass Balances on a Multi-annual Time Scale : Volume 4, Issue 3 (23/07/2010)  
Author: Fischer, A.
Volume: Vol. 4, Issue 3
Language: English
Subject: Science, Cryosphere, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Fischer, A. (2010). Comparison of Direct and Geodetic Mass Balances on a Multi-annual Time Scale : Volume 4, Issue 3 (23/07/2010). Retrieved from

Description: Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. Glacier mass balance is measured with the direct or the geodetic method. In this study, the geodetic mass balances of six Austrian glaciers in 19 periods between 1953 and 2006 are compared to the direct mass balances in the same periods. The mean annual geodetic mass balance for all periods is −0.5 m w.e./year. The mean difference between the geodetic and the direct data is −0.7 m w.e., the minimum −7.3 m w.e. and the maximum 5.6 m w.e. The accuracy of geodetic mass balance resulting from the accuracy of the DEMs ranges from 2 m w.e. for photogrammetric data to 0.002 m w.e. for LIDAR data. Basal melt, seasonal snow cover and density changes of the surface layer contribute up to 0.7 m w.e. for the period of 10 years to the difference to the direct method. The characteristics of published data of Griesgletscher, Gulkana Glacier, Lemon Creek glacier, South Cascade, Storbreen, Storglaciären, and Zongo Glacier is similar to these Austrian glaciers. For 26 analyzed periods with an average length of 18 years the mean difference between the geodetic and the direct data is −0.4 m w.e., the minimum −7.2 m w.e. and the maximum 3.6 m w.e. Longer periods between the acquisition of the DEMs do not necessarily result in a higher accuracy of the geodetic mass balance. Specific glaciers show specific trends of the difference between the direct and the geodetic data according to their type and state. In conclusion, geodetic and direct mass balance data are complementary, but differ systematically.

Comparison of direct and geodetic mass balances on a multi-annual time scale

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