Observation and modelling of glacier mass balances in Patagonia and Svalbard : application and enhancement of temperature-index based modelling approaches

  • Beobachtung und Modellierung von Gletschermassenbilanzen in Patagonien und auf Svalbard : Anwendung und Weiterentwicklung von temperaturindex-basierten Modelansätzen

Möller, Marco; Schneider, Christoph (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2011)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2011


Global sea level has been persistently rising throughout the 20th century and is expected to continue this development in the future. Glaciers and ice caps outside the large ice shields of Greenland and Antarctica have been identified as important contributors to sea-level rise. However, to yield any model-based quantification of this development, the climate-related surface mass balance of these ice masses is a crucial factor to be known. Two particularly influencing regions regarding global sea-level rise are Patagonia and the Arctic islands and archipelagos. This thesis deals with modelling and observation of glacier surface mass balances in these regions. Two ice caps form the regional case-study sites: Gran Campo Nevado located in southernmost Patagonia close to the Strait of Magellan and Vestfonna located in the northern Svalbard archipelago on the island Nordaustlandet. As it is the case for most remote regions of the world, data availability regarding these ice caps is insufficient for sophisticated, physically-based, dynamic modelling of glacier mass balance. Hence, feasible modelling methods of low complexity are employed to cope with the limitations regarding input data quantity and quality. The modelling approaches are based on the well established temperature-index method and are enhanced and further developed where ever necessary. First calculations of the surface mass balance of Gran Campo Nevado and Vestfonna are presented in individual studies. For Gran Campo Nevado also long-term past and future glacier evolution and climate sensitivity characteristics are analysed. In doing so, this thesis contributes to improve the knowledge about mass balance and potential contribution to sea-level rise of Patagonian and Arctic glaciers. Furthermore, it presents a set of enhancements and newly introduced approaches regarding glacier mass-balance modelling. These novelties are especially aimed at contributing to fulfilling the need of development of simple but nevertheless reliable glacier models that can be used to estimate the evolution of glaciers and ice caps in difficult to access, remote areas of the world. This finally serves to facilitate a more complete estimate of glacier induced sea-level rise.