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WP 1.3: Surface mass balance changes

Workpackage leader: Jack Kohler, NPI

SVALI PhD students: Charalampos Charalampidis


  • Compare, evaluate, and develop field mass balance observation methodology.
  • Establish common benchmark dataset to assist in calculating and modelling.
  • Apply models to analysis of mass balance observations.


Surface mass balance measurements are fundamental for assessing the response of glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets to climate change. It is therefore important to have reliable observational methods. In recent years, the melt zone of the ice sheet has been shown to reach unprecedented elevations, increasing the affected surface area substantially. It is therefore becoming more and more important to give reliable estimates of the mass balance of the part of the accumulation zone affected by melt. However, modelling the surface mass budget in the accumulation zone is more complicated than in the ablation zone because of several factors, such as variable surface radiative and aerodynamic properties during the melt season, and variable snow properties due to meltwater retention, refreezing, and sub-surface melting.

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Last modified : Sep. 13, 2012
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