Mass balance measurements on glaciers are a key source of quantitative information for early detection of environmental changes, process understanding, model development and prediction of possible future developments. The Comitato Glaciologico Italiano and the World Glacier Monitoring Service regularly collect standardized observations on glacier mass balance, based on the ‘direct glaciological’ method. We analyzed mass balance series of the glaciers in the Italian Alps which are still being regularly measured and which have at least ten years of continuous data. The longest series started in 1967 on Careser glacier. Measurements began on Fontana Bianca and Sforzellina in the 1980s, and on Ciardoney and Pendente in the 1990s. Other observation series started in the 2000s on Grand Etret, Lunga, La Mare and Malavalle. Two glaciers are located in the Western Alps, the other seven in the Eastern Alps. Measurements results indicate that average mass balances agree well with a sample of glaciers representative of the entire European Alps. Among the longest series, however, Careser and Ciardoney glaciers are losing mass at significantly higher rates. However, given the high correlation of their series with the other Italian glaciers, they enable recognizing mountainrange- scale temporal trends in the seasonal components of mass balance. In particular, the Careser series shows a sharply negative trend in the annual mass balance, almost entirely due to increasing summer ablation. Most monitored glaciers display strongly imbalanced conditions and nearly complete absence of accumulation area, with the exception of few years in the last two decades. Consequently, as their survival and the prosecution of mass balance measurements are at risk, there is the need to i) evaluate their spatial representativity by means of regional-scale geodetic mass balance assessments based on DTM differencing, and ii) start parallel measurements on neighboring larger and higher-reaching glaciers, which should replace them in the future.

Analysis of long-term mass balance series of the glaciers in the Italian Alps

BARONI, CARLO;SALVATORE, MARIA CRISTINA;
2014

Abstract

Mass balance measurements on glaciers are a key source of quantitative information for early detection of environmental changes, process understanding, model development and prediction of possible future developments. The Comitato Glaciologico Italiano and the World Glacier Monitoring Service regularly collect standardized observations on glacier mass balance, based on the ‘direct glaciological’ method. We analyzed mass balance series of the glaciers in the Italian Alps which are still being regularly measured and which have at least ten years of continuous data. The longest series started in 1967 on Careser glacier. Measurements began on Fontana Bianca and Sforzellina in the 1980s, and on Ciardoney and Pendente in the 1990s. Other observation series started in the 2000s on Grand Etret, Lunga, La Mare and Malavalle. Two glaciers are located in the Western Alps, the other seven in the Eastern Alps. Measurements results indicate that average mass balances agree well with a sample of glaciers representative of the entire European Alps. Among the longest series, however, Careser and Ciardoney glaciers are losing mass at significantly higher rates. However, given the high correlation of their series with the other Italian glaciers, they enable recognizing mountainrange- scale temporal trends in the seasonal components of mass balance. In particular, the Careser series shows a sharply negative trend in the annual mass balance, almost entirely due to increasing summer ablation. Most monitored glaciers display strongly imbalanced conditions and nearly complete absence of accumulation area, with the exception of few years in the last two decades. Consequently, as their survival and the prosecution of mass balance measurements are at risk, there is the need to i) evaluate their spatial representativity by means of regional-scale geodetic mass balance assessments based on DTM differencing, and ii) start parallel measurements on neighboring larger and higher-reaching glaciers, which should replace them in the future.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/640472
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact