Helfricht, Kay (2009): Ice thickness distribution and glacier bed of Hallstätter Gletscher. PANGAEA, https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.809700, Supplement to: Helfricht, K (2009): Veränderungen des Massenhaushaltes am Hallstätter Gletscher seit 1856. Magister Thesis, Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Innsbruck, 153 pp, hdl:10013/epic.40823.d001
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Hallstätter Glacier is the northernmost glacier of Austria. Appendant to the northern Limestone Alps, the glacier is located at 47°28'50'' N, 13°36'50'' E in the Dachstein-region. At the same time with its advance linked to the Little Ice Age (LIA), research on changes in size and mass of Hallstätter glacier was started in 1842 by Friedrich Simony. He observed and documented the glacier retreat related to its last maximum extension in 1856. In addition, Hallstätter Glacier is a subject to scientific research to date.
In this thesis methods and results of ongoing mass balance measurements are presented and compared to long term volume changes and meteorological observations. The current mass balance monitoring programm using the direct glaciological method was started 2006. In this context, 2009 the ice thickness was measured with ground penetrating radar. The result are used with digital elevation models reconstucted from historical maps and recent digital elevation models to calculate changes in shape and volume of Hallstätter Glacier. Based on current meteorological measurements near the glacier and longtime homogenized climate data provided by HISTALP, time series of precipitation and temperature beginning at the LIA are produced. These monthly precipitation and monthly mean temperature data are used to compare results of a simple degree day model with the volume change calculated from the difference of the digital elevation models. The two years of direct mass balance measurements are used to calibrate the degree day model. A number of possible future scenarios are produced to indicate prospective changes.
Within the 150-year-period between 1856 and 2007 the Hallstätter Glacier lost 1940 meters of its length and 2.23 km**2 in area. 37% of the initial volume of 1856 remained. This retreat came along with a change in climate. The application of a running avarage of 30 years shows an increase in precipitation of 18.5% and a warming of 1.3°C near the glacier between 1866 and 1993. The mass loss was continued in the hydrological years 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 showing mean specific mass balance of -376 mm and -700 mm, respectively. Applying a temperature correction for the different minimum elevations of the glacier, the degree day approach based on the two measured mass balances can reproduce sign and order of magnitude of the volume change of Hallstätter Glacier since 1856. Nevertheless, the relative deviation is significant. Future scenarios show, that 30% of the entire glacier volume remains after subtracting the elevation changes between the digital elevation models of 2002 and 2007 ten times from the surface of 2007.
The past and present mass changes of Hallstätter Glacier are showing a retreating glacier as a consequence of rising temperatures. Due to high precepitation, increased with previous warming, the Hallstätter Glacier can and will exist in lower elevation compared to inner alpine glaciers.
Median Latitude: 47.482906 * Median Longitude: 13.615925 * South-bound Latitude: 47.470357 * West-bound Longitude: 13.602622 * North-bound Latitude: 47.495484 * East-bound Longitude: 13.627967
Datasets listed in this publication series
- Helfricht, K; Fischer, A (2009): Glacier bed of Hallstätter Gletscher calculated from ice thickness measurements 2009 and airborne laser scan DEM 2007. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.809691
- Helfricht, K; Fischer, A (2009): Ice thickness distribution of Hallstätter Gletscher calculated from GPR measurements in 2009. https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.809692