Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Simulating the effects of mean annual air-temperature changes on permafrost distribution and glacier size: an example from the Upper Engadin, Swiss Alps

  • Martin Hoelzle (a1) and Wilfried Haeberli (a1)
Abstract

Models are developed to simulate changes in permafrost distribution and glacier size in mountain areas. The models exclusively consider equilibrium conditions. As a first application, the simplified assumption is used that one single parameter (mean annual air temperature) is changing.

Permafrost distribution patterns are estimated for a test area (Corvatsch-Furtschellas) and for the whole Upper Engadin region (eastern Swiss Alps) using a relation between permafrost occurrence as indicated by BTS (bottom temperature of the winter snow cover) measurements, potential direct solar radiation and mean annual air temperature. Glacier sizes were assessed in the same region with data from the World Glacier Inventory database. The simulations for the glaciers are based on the assumption that an increase or decrease in equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) would lead to a mass-balance change. Model calculations for potential future changes in ELA and mass balance include estimated developments of area, length and volume. Mass changes were also calculated for the time period 1850–1973 on the basis of measured cumulative length change, glacier length and estimated ablation at the glacier terminus.

For the time period since 1850, permafrost became inactive or disappeared in about 15% of the area originally underlain by permafrost in the whole Upper Engadin region, and mean annual glacier mass balance was calculated as −0.26 to −0.46 m w.e.a−1 for the larger glaciers in the same area. The estimated loss in glacier volume since 1850 lies between 55% and 66% of the original value. With an assumed increase in mean annual air temperature of +3°C, the area of supposed permafrost occurrence would possibly be reduced by about 65% with respect to present-day conditions and only three glaciers would continue to partially exist.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Simulating the effects of mean annual air-temperature changes on permafrost distribution and glacier size: an example from the Upper Engadin, Swiss Alps
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Simulating the effects of mean annual air-temperature changes on permafrost distribution and glacier size: an example from the Upper Engadin, Swiss Alps
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Simulating the effects of mean annual air-temperature changes on permafrost distribution and glacier size: an example from the Upper Engadin, Swiss Alps
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
  • URL: /core/journals/annals-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 67 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 127 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 19th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.