Dynamic Response of Surface Energy and Mass Balance of Vest- and Austfonna (Nordaustlandet, Svalbard) on Climate Change


Project description

This is a joint research project of the Department of Climatology TU Berlin (coordinator), the Department of Geography RWTH Aachen and the Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL) University of Bonn. It is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and coordinated with other projects during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008. The Subject of the study is the response of glaciers and ice caps on climate change.

Current field studies are concentrated on the Vestfonna ice cap , which is located at 80º north on the west side of Nordaustlandet, an island of the Svalbard archipelago. With altitudes between 0 to 630 masl and an area of about 2500 km², it is one of the largest ice masses of the European Arctic.

The project team installed a net of automatic weather stations and ablation stakes in Spring 2008. Various parameters of the atmosphere and ice conditions at the Vestfonna ice cap are being measured since that time. Obtained field data, remote sensing data, GFS and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data will be used to model the variance and trends of energy and mass balance and to calculate the sensitivity of the ice cap due to climate change.

The current measurement net consists of six automatic weather stations and 24 ablation stakes. Four of the stations are installed directly on the Vestfonna ice cap (three at the north west ramp and one on the Ahlmann-Summit). Another station is located on the De Geerfonna, a small ice mass in the Northwest of the Vestfonna. The last Station is installed on the west coast of Nordauslandet in the area of the Kinnvika bay. The measurement systems vary at each site.

Up and down welling short wave radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, snow height, soil temperature and wind parameters are measured at all stations. Long wave radiation (up and down welling), net radiation, soil water content, soil heat flux, carbon dioxide and water vapour concentration in the air and high-frequency temperature and turbulence data are measured at some stations.
A map of the measurement net gives the exact positions.

Weather station at the Kinnvika bay (LAND):
Up and down welling short and long wave radiation, net radiation, station inclination, soil temperature (four levels), soil water content (two levels), soil heat flux (three levels), wind direction and speed, high-frequency temperature and turbulence data, carbon dioxide and water vapour concentration in the air, air temperature and relative humidity (two levels), air pressure
Dismounted since August 2009

Weather station on the Northwest site of Vestfonna (ECS1, ECS2 and ECS3):
Up and down welling short wave radiation, up welling long wave radiation, net radiation, station inclination, ice temperature (eight levels), snow water content (two levels), snow height, high-frequency temperature and turbulence data, air temperature and relative humidity (two levels)
ECS1 and ECS3 dismounted since May 2009

Weather station on the Ahlmann-Summit of Vestfonna (AWS2):
Up and down welling short wave radiation, up welling long wave radiation, net radiation, station inclination, ice temperature (four levels), snow height, wind direction and speed, air temperature and relative humidity (two levels), air pressure
Dismounted since May 2009

Weather station on the De Geerfonna (AWS1):
Up and down welling short wave radiation, station inclination, ice temperature (four levels), snow height, wind direction and speed, air temperature and relative humidity (two levels)

Reports of accomplished field campaigns:
Spring 2008 (PDF)
Summer 2008 (PDF)
Spring 2009 (PDF)
Summer 2009 (PDF)

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Responsible Researchers (TU Berlin)

Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer

Dr. Roman Finkelnburg

Responsible Researchers (RWTH Aachen)

Prof. Dr. Christoph Schneider (now at HU Berlin)

Dr. Marco Möller (now at Universität Bremen)

Responsible Researcher (ZFL Bonn)

Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun

Publications:

Beaudon, E. et al. (2011):
Spatial and temporal variability of net accumulation from shallow cores from vestfonna ice cap (nordaustlandet, svalbard). Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 93(4), 287–299. DOI: 10.1111/J.1468-0459.2011.00439.X.

Braun, M. et al. (2011):
Changes of glacier frontal positions of vestfonna (nordaustlandet, svalbard). Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography 93 (4), pp. 301–310. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00437.x.

Bartsch, A. et al.(2002):
Identification of geomorphic process units in k√§rkevagge, northern sweden, by remote sensing and digital terrain analysis. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 84(3-4), 171–178. DOI: 10.1111/J.0435-3676.2002.00171.X.