Estimation of changes in the volume of ice making up Gornergletscher since the little ice age maximum

Balounová, L 2010, Estimation of changes in the volume of ice making up Gornergletscher since the little ice age maximum , MSc by research thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

Few estimates of glacier volume and changes in mass over the past 150 years are available for the Swiss Alps. This thesis aims to estimate changes in the mass of ice making up Gornergletscher since the Little Ice Age maximum extent (LIAM) in 1860 in the context of climate change. Gornergletscher, the second largest glacier in the Swiss Alps, is one of few glaciers for which bedrock topography map is available, which makes it possible to estimate ice volume as well as changes in mass. Direct observations and measurements of changes in length of Gornergletscher are available since 1882. To quantify changes in thickness and volume of the glacier, topographic maps from 1891, 1951 and 2001 and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital elevation model (SRTM DEM) from 1999 were used. The SRTM DEM and digital elevation models of the glacier, derived from the maps, were processed using ESRFs ArcGIS. The 1891 map was found inaccurate within the accumulation area of the glacier at the higher elevation range between approximately 2700-4600 m above sea level (a.s.l.). Therefore, a loss of ice volume was observed, mainly within the ablation area of the glacier, in the lower elevation range between approximately 1860-2600 m. The loss in ice volume of Gornergletscher between 1891 and 2001 in this lower elevation area was 1.297 km3 , which is almost 50% of the total volume loss. To improve ice-volume calculations of the entire Gornergletscher since the LIAM extent, in the second half of the 19 th century, analysis of sources other than the 1891 map will have to be undertaken.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc by research)
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2021 13:04
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:57
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61567

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