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Liquid water storage in snow and ice in 86 Eastern Alpine basins and its changes from 1970–97 to 1998–2006

  • Michael Kuhn (a1), Kay Helfricht (a2), Martin Ortner (a3), Johannes Landmann (a4) and Wolfgang Gurgiser (a1)...
Abstract

The retention and release of liquid water in glacierized basins was modelled with a conceptual, semi-distributed model of the water and ice balance designed for long-term averages with monthly resolution for 100 m elevation bands. Here we present the components of the liquid water balance of 86 mostly glacierized basins on either side of the main Alpine divide between 10 and 13°E in the period 1998–2006 and compare them with the records of 30 basins monitored from 1970 to 1997. Basin average of liquid water retention has maxima in excess of 100 mm per month in May, often followed by maximum release when the retaining snow matrix melts. Glacier storage peaks in August partly due to ice melt and the ensuing filling of the englacial reservoirs and partly on account of a precipitation maximum. These two components combined to a common maximum of storage in summer in the first period 1970–97 and developed two distinct maxima in the warmer period 1998–2006. A further maximum of liquid water storage that was often found in October is most likely due to a peak in precipitation in the southern part of the study region.

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      Liquid water storage in snow and ice in 86 Eastern Alpine basins and its changes from 1970–97 to 1998–2006
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
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