ID26: High Altitude Natural Laboratories
The past decade has seen the emergence of a series of permanent and semi-permanent natural laboratories facilitating long-term research at very high altitude and also in exceptionally steep terrain across the alpine arc. In contrast to the European High Altitude Research Stations focussing on enabling full-fledged lab environments at single locations in pursuit of observing the atmosphere these outdoor observatories focus on observations of the earth surface and it's interaction with the earth system. Typically, in-situ and other sensors are geographically dispersed covering diverse conditions and forcings. This requires very robust, often custom built or adapted instruments and techniques. In this session we exchange latest progress into the methods and approaches used in natural laboratories located at high altitude and steep terrain including success stories illustrating the benefits and challenges of such infrastructure. Priority is given to contributions of sustainable, long-term activities and continuous measurements rather than a collation of short-term field experiments.
Abstract ID 279 | Date: 2022-09-13 13:30 – 13:40 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Dematteis, Niccolò (1); Giordan, Daniele (1); Troilo, Fabrizio (2); Perret, Paolo (2)
1: Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection, National Research Council of Italy, Italy
2: Fondazione Montagna Sicura, Italy
Keywords: Planpincieux Glacier, Ground-Penetrating Radar, Glacier Thickness, Glacier Morphology, Crevasses
It is well known that bedrock geometry influences glacier surface morphology. Nevertheless, in mountain glaciers, direct observations are rare. We present a detailed research on the Planpincieux Glacier (NW Italy), where we measured the glacier thickness using ice-penetrating radar and reconstructed the bedrock topography in 2020. Besides, we surveyed the glacier surface morphology and kinematics using helicopter-borne structure from motion and digital image correlation of terrestrial images, respectively. Visual digital terrain analysis evidenced the presence of crevasses of recurrent position, with planimetric variations between 6-14 m. The crevasses' positions occur ~40 m downstream of bedrock knees. Moreover, the amplitude of glacier undulations is larger than that of bedrock, indicating that the effects of bedrock discontinuities are amplified on the glacier surface. Besides, we observed a correspondence between crevasses and kinematic domains. Thus, evidencing the direct influence of the bedrock topography on glacier morphodynamics.
Additionally, we analysed the morphological evolution of the unstable frontal sector of the Montitaz icefall, which represented a serious threat for the population in the last years due to potential collapse. Between 2014 and 2020, its thickness at the end of the ablation season remained approximately constant (i.e., ~24 m on average), but it retreated by approximately 60 m and the area was almost halved. On the other hand, we measured a volume decrease of this sector >30% between 20 July and 8 September 2020. Since the damages provoked by potential failure depend primarily on the involved volume, this finding demonstrates that high-frequency morphology monitoring is essential for correct glacial hazard assessment.
Abstract ID 114 | Date: 2022-09-13 13:40 – 13:50 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Vidal Júnior, João De Deus (1,2); Le Roux, Peter (3); Johnson, Steven (4); Te Beest, Mariska (5); Clark, Vincent Ralph (2)
1: Universität Passau, Germany
2: Afromontane Research Unit and Department of Geography, University of the Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa
3: University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
4: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
5: South African Environmental Observation Network, Grasslands-Forests-Wetlands Node, Montrose, South Africa
Keywords: Poaceae, Environmental Gradients, Photosynthetic Pathways, Afromontane, Subtropical Mountains
von Humboldt's tree-line concept has dominated mountain ecology for almost two hundred years and is considered a key indicator for monitoring change in biome boundaries and biodiversity shifts under climate change. Even though the concept of life zones and elevation gradients are a globally observed phenomenon, they have not been thoroughly explored for many contexts. One such example is the tree-line ecotone, a widely used conceptual tool to track climate change in many regions, which has limited application in the widespread tree-sparse, grassy systems that comprise a third of the world's mountain systems. Among grasses (Poaceae), the temperature is linked to variation in photosynthetic performance and community dominance for C3 and C4 metabolic groups, due to its role in limiting photorespiration in the C3 photosynthesis process. Here, we investigate this community shift in grassland-dominated mountains to demonstrate the role of climate in driving this transition and discuss the potential applications of this tool to mountain ecosystem conservation worldwide. For identifying grass-dominated mountains worldwide, we measured the grass cover using satellite data. We then compiled Poaceae distribution data for ten grass-dominated mountains spanning from 42°S to 41°N and determined the temperature intervals and elevation range at which each genus was found, testing for effects of temperature, precipitation, and latitudinal gradients on the dominance of C3-C4 grasses. The temperature was the main driver of C3 dominance, with the richness of C3 genera tending to surpass the taxonomic dominance of C4 plants along mountain temperature gradients where the annual mean temperature was colder than ca. 14.6°C. Similar patterns were observed in eight out of ten mountains, suggesting that this may constitute an isotherm-driven ecotone. Consequently, this C3-C4 transition offers a promising tool for monitoring climate change impacts in grassy mountains. C3-C4 grass community shifts in response to environmental change will likely have major implications for fire frequency and severity, rangeland productivity and livelihoods, food security, and water budgets in mountain systems. Given the severity of the implications of global change on these social-ecological systems, we propose that a "grass-line" monitoring protocol be developed for global application.
Abstract ID 759 | Date: 2022-09-13 13:50 – 14:00 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Hartmeyer, Ingo; Keuschnig, Markus
GEORESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Austria
Keywords: Climate Change, Long-Term Monitoring, Rockfall, Glacier Retreat, Research Funding
Many high-mountain regions around the world are warming at rates that significantly exceed the global mean. This warming trend has severe consequences (e.g. glacier retreat, permafrost degradation, biodiversity reduction), which however often occur with significant lag times and in non-linear fashion. Accurate identification and quantification of climate change impacts thus requires extended observation periods and long-term monitoring approaches. Conventional research funding through state agencies is in most cases restricted to just three years and hence does not provide an appropriate framework for long-term studies of climate change impacts. Alternative funding sources are therefore needed.
Rapid warming of alpine regions represents a significant safety concern for high-alpine infrastructures and puts their operators under increasing pressure to adapt to changing environmental conditions. To ensure operational safety, legal protection and economic sustainability climate change consequences need to be monitored over long time scales, which potentially makes operators of high-alpine infrastructures ideal partners for long-term research cooperations.
In this contribution we describe the framework and focus of the Open-Air-Lab Kitzsteinhorn (OPAL) – a long-term geoscientific monitoring funded and logistically supported by a local tourism enterprise (Gletscherbahnen Kaprun). The OPAL was initiated in 2010 by an extensive public-private-partnership. Since 2016 it is exclusively funded from private sources. By combining data on external forcing (climate), internal responses (rock temperatures) and surface changes (rockfall, glacier retreat), the OPAL provides valuable insights on the correlation between climate warming and rock mass destabilization in high-alpine rock faces. Over the past decade the OPAL has grown into Austria's most extensive research site for bedrock permafrost and rockwall monitoring and features one of the most substantial inventories for high-alpine rockfall related to deglaciation worldwide.
Abstract ID 667 | Date: 2022-09-13 14:00 – 14:10 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Offer, Maike (1); Scandroglio, Riccardo (1); Keuschnig, Markus (2); Mamot, Philipp (1,3); Krautblatter, Michael (1)
1: Technical University of Munich, Landslide Research Group, Germany
2: GEORESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Puch bei Hallein, Austria
3: Björnsen Beratende Ingenieure GmbH, Munich, Germany
Keywords: High Alpine Infrastructure, Long-Term Monitoring, Alpine Permafrost, Ert, Srt
Infrastructures at high altitudes are predominantly founded or anchored in low porosity permafrost bedrock. The ongoing permafrost degradation poses an increasing risk of destabilization and damages to these infrastructures with potentially severe social and economic consequences. To cope with this situation, a complete process understanding of these low porosity permafrost systems is required. Multimethod approaches were already successfully applied in ice-rich conditions. However, quantitative studies in ice-poor bedrock characterized by confined pore space, where petrophysical relations are known to be even more clearly defined, have rarely been investigated.
In this study, we present a quantitative approach to long-term monitor the frozen area of low porosity permafrost bedrocks by combining data sets from electrical resistivity and seismic refraction measurements. The data sets shown here were recorded between 2010 and 2021 at two touristic-relevant sites with foundations in low porosity bedrocks affected by permafrost degradation: the Zugspitze crest (Germany, 2.855 m asl) and in the Hanna-Stollen at the Kitzsteinhorn (Austria, 3.029 m asl). Transferring the gained relations from laboratory calibrations between temperature, resistivities, and p-wave velocities to field measurements, site-specific temperature changes can be quantitatively estimated.
Our applied techniques enable an accurate quantification of permafrost degradation dynamics and can therefore highlight areas where mechanical changes caused by increasing temperature lead to significant stability reduction. In the context of climate-change, this non-invasive method is a fundamental tool for improving the hazard potential assessment of high-alpine infrastructures with foundations and anchoring in thawing permafrost.
Abstract ID 879 | Date: 2022-09-13 14:10 – 14:20 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Noetzli, Jeannette (1); Christiansen, Hanne H. (2); Etzelmueller, Bernd (3); Gugliemin, Mauro (4); Hoelzle, Martin (5); Isaksen, Ketil (6); Magnin, Florence (7); Pellet, Cécile (5); Phillips, Marcia (1); Pogliotti, Paolo (8)
1: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland
2: Geology Department, University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway
3: Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
4: Department of Theoretical and Applied Science, Insubria University, Italy
5: Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
6: Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
7: Laboratoire EDYTEM, CNRS/Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
8: Environmental Protection Agency of Valle d'Aosta, Saint Christophe, Italy
Keywords: Permafrost, Long-Term Changes, European Mountains
Permafrost, ground material remaining at or below 0 °C for at least two consecutive years, is a key component of the cryosphere in high-latitude and high-altitude regions. As such it is globally observed as an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) of the Global Climate Observation System (GCOS). Mountain permafrost is permafrost in areas with steep topography and accounts for ca. 30% of the global area underlain by permafrost and can be found at low and high latitudes and in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. We present an overview of long-term permafrost data from European mountain regions (the Alps and the Nordic countries, including Svalbard) – where most mountain permafrost data are available – and describe observed changes and patterns of permafrost evolution.
Permafrost temperatures are typically measured in boreholes. Ranges of permafrost temperature and warming rates in mountains are similar to those observed in lowland polar areas but with high spatial variability in atmospheric, surface and subsurface conditions due to the complex topography with large environmental gradients. The strongest warming was observed in the past decade for bedrock sites at high latitudes and high elevations, where permafrost temperatures are several degrees below 0 °C (e.g., in mountain sites on Svalbard or above 3500 m asl. in the Alps). Ground temperatures in ice-rich permafrost close to the lower permafrost boundary – for example in many rock glaciers in the Alps increase at a lower rate due to latent heat uptake during ice melt. Significant increase in active layer thickness (ALT) – the thickness of the layer above the permafrost that freezes and thaws annually – was observed. In the European Alps, ALT increased by meters since the start of observations 1–2 decades ago, even doubling at some sites.
In mountain regions, permafrost degradation can affect stability of infrastructure and steep mountain slopes. Although observed parameters and techniques applied to lowland permafrost in general also apply to mountain areas, the long-term collection of robust and comparable permafrost data is challenging due to steep topography, site access, harsh weather conditions, risk of natural hazards and the strong spatial heterogeneity of determining factors. The continuation of time series over decades highly depends on field laboratories permanently operated for long-term climate monitoring. Finally, their coordination in national or regional monitoring networks (such as, for example, PERMOS, SIOS, or PermaFRANCE) is key for standardization and comparability and to describe a consistent picture of the mountain permafrost state and changes.
Abstract ID 908 | Date: 2022-09-13 14:20 – 14:30 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Aranda-Barranco, Sergio (1,2); Agea-Plaza, Daniel (1); Sanchez-Cañete, Enrique Perez (2,3); Zamora, Regino (1,2); Serrano-Ortiz, Penelope (1,2); Valverde Amor, Angela Lucia (3)
1: Department of Ecology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
2: Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (CEAMA‐IISTA), University of Granada, Granada, Spain
3: Department of Applied Physics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
Keywords: Soil Respiration, Ch4 Fluxes, Thinning, Pine Reforestation, Oak
The management of forests is essential to avoid biodiversity losses and maintain the ecosystem services that provide to humans under a climate change context. In this regard, thinning and clearing activities, leaving the main branches lopped off and all wood left in situ, is a common practice in Sierra Nevada Natural Park (Spain) and other Mediterranean mountains. Such managements create soil patches (e. g. biogenic refuges vs. open areas) promoting different microclimate conditions and therefore, different biotic responses. Therefore, the continuous monitoring of soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes, together with soil and air temperature and humidity in such soil patches, will provide us with very valuable knowledge about the effect of different microhabitats in the soil respiration processes.
This study is focussed on the forests and shrublands that create dominant woody species in Sierra Nevada: oak and holm oak groves and pine reforestation. These plant formations are ubiquitous in many other mountains, so the results we obtain can be generalized to other places. They are reservoirs of biodiversity and suppliers of provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. They are the result of a long history of human management, as in many other mountains, and have problems of adaptation to climate change.
In this regard, we are going to characterise the microclimatic environment (soil and air temperature and humidity) in selected microhabitats of holm oak and oak groves and pine reforestation plots in comparison with their immediate "open" environment. Our measurements are deployed in experimental parcels that were already monitored both with biophysical field measurements and satellite and in the vicinity of the meteorological stations that already exist in Sierra Nevada, which will allow us to establish a very strong spatial association, facilitating the scaling between micro and macroclimate.
Such soil fluxes are measured since March 2022, every 2 weeks, using the LI-7810 soil chamber portable system. In addition, "low cost" sensors are installed to measure soil CO2 concentration, in some of such experimental plots and estimate continuous soil CO2 emissions and also validate the measurements of the LI-7810 portable system. We hypothesize that soil respiration in such "refugees" will be greater than in open spaces due to better abiotic conditions, increasing plant activity and therefore, autotrophic respiration, and more prolonged activity of microorganisms and arthropods in the soil (heterotrophic respiration).
This work is part of Smart EcoMountains, the Thematic Center on Mountain Ecosystems of LifeWatch-ERIC.
Abstract ID 609 | Date: 2022-09-13 14:30 – 14:40 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Scandroglio, Riccardo (1); Offer, Maike (1); Rehm, Till (2); Krautblatter, Michael (1)
1: Technical University of Munich, Landslide Research Group, Germany
2: Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus, Germany
Keywords: Bedrock Permafrost, Ert, Long-Term Monitoring, Outdoor Laboratory, Thermo-Hydrological Processes
Warming of high alpine bedrock permafrost in the last decades and the resulting slope stability reduction put humans and infrastructures at high risk. To monitor this hazard, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) recently became the standard for detection of thermal state changes in permafrost, developing up to 4D quantitative monitoring. Nevertheless, bedrock thermal and hydrological responses cannot be fully understood with this single technique: a multimethod monitoring that includes underground information as well as external forcing is fundamental to decipher internal dynamics.
This is the case at the Kammstollen, a 850m long communication tunnel between 2660 and 2780m asl, located meters to few decameters under the ridge at the border between Germany and Austria. The first ERT permafrost monitoring here was conducted in 2007, this has been monthly repeated in the last decade and enriched with continuous logging of rock/air temperatures and seasonal record of water infiltration. In addition, our yearly resistivity, rock temperature, and displacement measurements on the overlaying ridge offer precise knowledge on surface processes, supplemented by 120 years of climate records on the summit.
Year-round access to the tunnel enables uninterrupted monitoring and maintenance of instruments for reliable data collection. "Precisely controlled" natural conditions, restricted access to the site for researchers only and unique logistical support by the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus, make this location particularly attractive for developing benchmark experiments.
Here, we present the recently modernized layout of the outdoor laboratory and results from this exceptional multimethod data set of still unpublished data. We want to encourage the discussion on further analysis approaches for the present data and on new potential future experiments in the Kammstollen, aiming at understanding not only permafrost thermal evolution but also bedrock internal thermo-hydrological dynamics.
Abstract ID 266 | Date: 2022-09-13 14:40 – 14:50 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Capozzi, Vincenzo; Budillon, Giorgio
Department of Science and Technology, University of Naples “Parthenope”, Italy
Keywords: Historical Mountain Observatory, Long-Term Meteorological Data, Climate Change
It is generally accepted, within the scientific community, that the historical meteorological observatories play an irreplaceable role in many studies and research projects focused on the comprehension of climate dynamics and on the identification and analysis of past weather events severity and frequency. In the light of recent climatic changes, there is a renewed interest in preserving and enhance the long-term observations, as testified by recent initiatives launched by the World Meteorological Organization (such as the Centennial Observing Stations recognition mechanism) and by several actions and projects led by local meteorological agencies and research institutes.
In this work, we present the past and present scientific activities carried out in Montevergine Observatory (40.936502°N, 14.729150°E, 1280 m a.s.l.), which is located in the Southern Apennines (Campania Region, Southern Italy). This historical specola was founded in 1884 and offers a rare opportunity to investigate climate features of the central Mediterranean mountain environment prior to the 1950s, thanks to its very rich heritage of historical atmospheric measurements. Distinguishing Montevergine features can be synthesized in the following key points: (i) Montevergine is the only meteorological observatory among those operating in Apennine regions at elevations above 1000 m a.s.l. to provide a climatological time series extending back to the late 19th century; (ii) Montevergine time series has been collected near the top of the atmospheric-boundary layer, in a location whose features have remained unchanged over time due to the absence of urban settlements.
The dataset collected in Montevergine consists of daily meteorological records, involving minimum and maximum temperature and accumulated rainfall and snowfall, which extend from late 19th century to date. Moreover, for the period 1884-1961, the MVOBS dataset also includes sub-daily meteorological observations, related to a wide spectrum of atmospheric variables (dry-bulb temperature, wet-bulb temperature, water vapour pressure, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloud type, cloud cover, rainfall, snowfall and precipitation type).
Nowadays, Montevergine observatory is also equipped with a laser optical disdrometer, which is part of the Disdrometric Italian Group, and manages, with the support of the University of Naples "Parthenope", several mountain meteorological stations located in the Campania Apennines.
Abstract ID 233 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:00 – 16:10 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Ravanel, Ludovic (1,2); Lacroix, Emilien (1); Lemeur, Emmanuel (3); Batoux, Philippe (4); Malet, Emmanuel (1)
1: EDYTEM, Univ. Savoie Mont-Blanc, CNRS (UMR 5204), 73370 Le Bourget du Lac, France
2: Department of Geosciences, Univ. Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 1, 0371 Oslo, Norway
3: IGE, Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, 38000 Grenoble, France
4: ENSA, ENSM, 74400 Chamonix, France
Keywords: Glaciers, Crevasses, Snow Bridges, Cornice Accretion, Mechanical Failure
On glaciers, an important element of the collective imagination has so far been the subject of almost no study: the snow bridge (SB) which, like an arch, can form above crevasses more or less durably. If a SB can generally support its own weight, this is sometimes no longer true in the case of overloading (skier, mountaineer) and the accident rate associated with it in the Alpine massifs is far from negligible. To improve the management of risks related to crevasses and to better understand this natural object, observational data were needed, in particular to understand how SB forms, evolves and destabilizes.
Despite the difficulties inherent to high mountain environments (glacier movement, extreme weather conditions), we installed in August 2016 a monitoring system of a series of crevasses at 3450 m a.s.l. in the Mont Blanc massif (Western European Alps). It has recorded various snow-meteorological parameters during two years at an hourly rate. An automatic camera surveyed the surface geometry of the SBs while an extensometer measured the evolution of the opening of the first crevasse monitored (37.5 m long, 6 m wide and 18 m deep at the date of the setting up). In 2021, a geophysical campaign (ground penetrating RaDAR) was carried out to image the thickness of the glacier and the position of the crevasses in the study area while stakes were installed to quantify the glacier surface velocities.
RaDAR highlighted the fact that the monitored crevasses form at bedrock humps under more than 25 m of ice. Data showed that a wind parallel to a crevasse favours its filling with snow while a wind with a significant angle to the crevasse can create a SB through cornice accretion under conditions of high wind and very low temperatures. High temperatures, interruption of freeze/thaw cycles, and associated snowmelt metamorphism are responsible for most of the observed natural failures.
Abstract ID 715 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:10 – 16:20 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Amschwand, Dominik (1); Arenson, Lukas (2); Bast, Alexander (3); Beutel, Jan (4); Bolch, Tobias (5); Cicoira, Alessandro (6); Farinotti, Daniel (7); Fiddes, Joel (3); Frauenfelder, Regula (8); Frehner, Marcel (9); Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle (6); Gruber, Stephan (10); Gubler, Hansueli (11); Haeberli, Wilfried (6); Hauck, Christian (1); Hilbich, Christin (1); Hoelzle, Martin (1); Jenk, Theo (12); Kääb, Andreas (13); Leysinger Vieli, Gwendolyn (6); Mollaret, Coline (1); Junghardt, Johann (14); Noetzli, Jeannette (3); Pellet, Cécile (1); Salzmann, Nadine (3,15); Scherler, Martin (1); Springman, Sarah (16); Vieli, Andreas (6); Vonder Mühll, Daniel (17); Wicky, Jonas (1)
1: Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
2: BGC Engineering Inc., Vancouver, BC, Canada
3: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos Dorf, Switzerland
4: Department of Computer Science, University of Innsbruck, Austria
5: School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, UK
6: Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
7: Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland
8: Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo, Norway
9: formerly at Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
10: Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
11: AlpuG GmbH, Davos Platz, Switzerland
12: Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen PSI, Switzerland
Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
13: Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
14: ZHAW School of Life Sciences and Facility Management, Institute of Natural Resource Sciences
15: Climate Change, Extreme Events and Natural Hazards in Alpine Regions Research Centre CERC, Davos Dorf, Switzerland
16: now at St Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford, U.K.
17: now at Personalized Health and Related Technologies (PHRT), ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Keywords: Mountain Permafrost, Rock Glacier, Permafrost Monitoring, Supersite
The Murtèl-Corvatsch rock glacier, located in the Engadin, Eastern Swiss Alps, has been a natural laboratory for almost 50 years. Several generations of researchers, from Graduate students to Professors, have contributed to the investigation of this permafrost site. Scientific advances have been achieved by studying particular processes as well as by long-term monitoring. Many different methods have been applied: borehole drilling in creeping permafrost, geophysical soundings, thermodynamic investigations on the surface and ground permafrost, assessment of kinematics from in-situ, close-range and remote sensing techniques, relative and absolute age dating as well as numerical modelling. As a highlight, the first borehole drilled through a rock glacier for scientific purposes in 1987 provides nowadays the longest high-resolution temperature time series relating to mountain permafrost. During this long time period, new technologies and research methods have been developed and tested, which helped the community globally to advance its understanding of fundamental processes. At the same time, this field site represents an important basis for the assessment of past, current and ongoing changes and specifically for the impact assessment of climate change on rock glaciers and mountain permafrost.
Abstract ID 370 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:20 – 16:30 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Gusmeroli, Alessio (1); Perret, Paolo (2); Leva, Davide (1); Gottardelli, Simone (2); Rivolta, Carlo (1); Mondardini, Luca (2); Troilo, Fabrizio (2); Dematteis, Niccolò (3); Giordan, Daniele (3); Casagli, Nicola (4)
1: Ellegi srl – LiSALab, Via Bandello 5, 20123 Milano, Italy
2: Fondazione Montagna sicura, Località Villard de la Palud 1, 11013 Courmayeur, Italy
3: IRPI – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Strada Delle Cacce, 73, 10135, Torino, Italy
4: Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence
Keywords: Ice Avalanches, Glaciers, Hazard Monitoring, Real-Time Monitoring, Radar Interferometry
Gravity-driven ice collapses from the front of steep avalanching glaciers is a major natural hazard at high altitude. High-magnitude break-offs could potentially lead to the triggering of complex geomorphic chain processes that involves materials such as snow, water and debris, enhancing the magnitude of the event. Ice avalanches occurrence probability is linked to the ice surface kinematics, therefore precise estimates of surface displacement in unstable glacier sectors are crucial. These types of phenomena can occur in all major mountain ranges and understanding their dynamics, as well as implementing robust real-time monitoring stations is critical for risk management.
The purpose of this work is to present ground-based radar interferometry results from the real-time displacement monitoring of Planpincieux Glacier's right lobe. This relatively small avalanching ice-front is located on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif (Grandes Jorasses), with the monitoring station placed 2.7 km from the glacier front. We will discuss the operational challenges, risk-management aspects and the detailed spatiotemporal ice-displacement data continuously acquired since 2019.
The radar system, based on the LiSALab© technology developed by ellegi srl, is a ground based interferometric synthetic aperture radar protected under a radar-transparent dome and the entire monitoring station is enclosed within a shelter adaptable for different environments. The system offers continuous data acquisition and processing with threshold-based automatic alarm messages and emails.
Monitoring results show seasonal variations of surface displacement, with summer peaks (reaching 10 m per week) followed by winter slow down (below 2 m per week). In addition to these trends, we also recognize short lived, sudden accelerations of small frontal areas usually associated with break-off events.
During the periods of high ice-flow speed it was possible to detect with considerable detail the extent of the fast-flowing area and assist decision makers on risk-mitigation strategies.
Abstract ID 890 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:30 – 16:40 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Mellado, Ana (1); Ros Candeira, Andrea (2); Merino Ceballos, Manuel (2); Guerrero Alonso, Pablo David (1); Moreno Llorca, Ricardo (2); Zamora, Regino (2,3)
1: LifeWatch-ERIC, Spain
2: Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research IISTA-CEAMA, Spain
3: Department of Ecology, University of Granada, Spain
Keywords: Mountain Observatories, E-Science, Natural Laboratories, Global Change, Coprehensive Monitoring
Mountain researchers have historically approached the study of the physical setting, climate, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and socioeconomic systems in isolated ways. However, to understand the complex interactions and feedbacks of real-world mountain socio-ecological systems it is necessary to adopt a "system thinking", combining interdisciplinary perspectives and integrated observation and analysis. In Smart EcoMountains—the LifeWatch-ERIC Thematic Center on Mountain Ecosystems (Sierra Nevada, Spain)— we are bringing together knowledge from different areas of scientific and technological expertise to develop robust monitoring approaches, as well as advanced technological tools and services to improve our potential for adequately observe, monitor, analyze, report, and predict changes in complex mountain socio-ecological systems and their interactions. Our final goal is to create a permanent physical and virtual research infrastructure that combines new technological tools (remote sensing, IA, Virtual Research Environments, deployment of latest-generation sensors) and traditional field monitoring, to enable the incorporation of all existing sources of information (biophysical, climatic, and socioeconomic) for their analysis and interpretation within a global scientific interdisciplinary context.
Here, we will present the systemic approach adopted in this high-altitude mountain laboratory, with special emphasis on the different methodological approaches used for data collection in mountain systems with extreme climatic conditions and difficult access, including in-situ observational sampling, automated instruments, remote sensing surveys, citizen observations, and e-science. We will also present the different technological tools that we are developing to improve data collection and analysis, as well as to enhance knowledge dissemination and reporting capacity, in order to share our experience with the global mountain research community and explore collaboration opportunities.
Abstract ID 261 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:40 – 16:50 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Troilo, Fabrizio (1); Mondardini, Luca (1); Perret, Paolo (1); Gottardelli, Simone (1); Giordan, Daniele (2); De Matteis, Niccolò (2)
1: Fondazione Montagna sicura, Courmayeur, Italy
2: Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, Turin, Italy
Keywords: Natural Laboratories, Glacier, Hazard, Risk, High Altitude.
Glaciological phenomena can have a strong impact on human activities in terms of hazards and freshwater supply. Therefore, scientific observation and continuous monitoring are fundamental to investigate their state and recent evolution. Efforts in this field have been spent in the Grandes Jorasses massif (Mont Blanc area), where several break-offs and avalanches from the Planpincieux Glacier and the Whymper Serac threatened the Planpincieux hamlet in the past. In the last decade, multiple close-range remote sensing surveys have been conducted to study those glaciers.
Time-lapse cameras monitor the Planpincieux Glacier since 2013. Its surface kinematics is measured with digital image correlation. Image analysis allowed classifying different instability processes that cause break-offs and their volume estimation. Another objective of close range remote sensing and field measurements at this site deals with the validation of remote sensed data from satellite borne sensors. A robotised total station monitors the Whymper Serac since 2009. The extreme high-mountain conditions force to replace periodically the stakes of the prism network that are lost. Those investigations revealed possible break-off precursors and a monotonic relationship between glacier velocity and break-off volume, which might help for risk evaluation.
In addition to these permanent monitoring systems, single and multiple specific surveys have been carried out on different topics:
-Five campaigns with different commercial terrestrial interferometric radars have been conducted between 2013 and 2019.
-In 2020 two terrestrial GBSAR were installed for the improvement of the monitoring network of both glaciers. The adopted monitoring network is also composed by a Doppler radar that controls the potential detachment of ice blocks from the frontal part of the Planpincieux glacier.
-Helicopter-borne LiDAR, terrestrial laser scanner and structure from motion applied to photomosaics acquired by helicopter and UAV provided a series of high-resolution DTMs. Finally, new helicopter ground-penetrating radar campaigns were conducted in 2020 to evaluate the Planpincieux and Grandes Jorasses glaciers thickness.
-A field survey for basal temperature of the Whymper serac was carried out during 2020/21 to highlight its evolution since measuments of 1997 and as an input for modeling of possible future stability of the serac under future climate change scenarios.
The survey activity conducted in the Grandes Jorasses area in the last decade is probably one of the most variegated in the European Alps. Thereby, this area has become an open-air laboratory for experimenting new technological or methodological solutions for glaciological remote sensing monitoring which might be applicable in other contexts.
Abstract ID 573 | Date: 2022-09-13 16:50 – 17:00 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Weber, Samuel (1,2); Beutel, Jan (3); Cicoira, Alessandro (4); Pogliotti, Paoloa (5); Di Cella, Umberto Morra (2)
1: WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland
2: Climate Change, Extremes and Natural Hazards in Alpine Regions Research Center CERC, Davos Dorf, Switzerland
3: Department of Computer Science, University of Innsbruck, Austria
4: Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
5: Climate Change Unit, Environmental Protection Agency of Valle d'Aosta, Saint-Christophe, Italy
Keywords: Matterhorn Cryosphere Observatory, High Altitude, 15+ Years
Rock slope destabilization due to warming or degrading permafrost poses a risk to the safety of local communities and infrastructures in populated mountain regions. In-situ observations are crucial to advance our knowledge of the acting processes. Collecting reliable, consistent and high-quality data in steep mountain terrain is challenging so that common techniques often can not be applied directly. In 2006, the first wireless sensors were developed and installed at the Matterhorn Hörnligrat, Switzerland, motivated by a rock slope failure in summer 2003. Starting with a few thermistors and crackmeters, the Matterhorn Hörnligrat field site has successively been extended and ended up in a full-fledged, continuously maintained natural laboratory – the 'Matterhorn Cryosphere Observatory'. In the meantime, 17 different sensor types were used at almost 40 distinct sensor locations distributed over the altitude from 3400 m a.s.l. up to the summit at 4478 m a.s.l. contribute to hazard assessment and climate impact research in high mountain environments.
Equally important than the capability to obtain long-term in-situ observations is the curation, quality control and open data access. A standardized and open data infrastructure has proven to be very successful in enabling a multitude of data access needs simultaneously based on a common infrastructure and methodology. A web front-end allows users to access both primary sensor data as well as secondary data products incorporating metadata, value conversion or data cleaned from systematic artifacts. All data on the PermaSense data repository can be accessed in real-time streaming formats as well as using full historic data digests.
The Matterhorn Cryosphere Observatory with its multi-modal observations over a long time period provides the basis for the analysis of phenomena and processes leading to rock slope destabilization but can also be used to validate and verify different modeling approaches.
Data set: https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.932578
Seismic data set: https://networks.seismo.ethz.ch/networks/1i/
Data manager: https://gitlab.ethz.ch/tec/public/permasense/permasense_datamgr
Abstract ID 510 | Date: 2022-09-13 17:00 – 17:10 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Neuhauser, Michael Johannes (1); Neurauter, Rene (2); Koehler, Anselm (1); Gerstmayr, Johannes (2); Fischer, Jan-Thomas (1)
1: Austrian Research Centre for Forest, Innsbruck, Austria
2: Department of Mechatronics, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Keywords: Avalanche Dynamics, Inflow Sensor System, Global Navigation Satellite System, Inertial Measurement Unit
The Nordkette laboratory has been home to various aspects of avalanche research due to its proximity and accessibility.
Lately performed inflow avalanche measurements at the Nordkette laboratory were evaluated to investigate the internal dynamics of avalanches and provide data to test corresponding simulation models.
The used measuring system, called AvaNode, and improved algorithms showed promising results regarding motion reconstruction.
The AvaNode measures translational acceleration, angular velocity, magnetic flux density by means of an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), as well as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) position and translational velocity.
In avalanche experiments with the AvaNode, the start- and end-point as well as the velocities of this particle can be extracted from the GNSS data.
Additionally, the particle trajectory is approximated by means of the IMU data.
As measured IMU accelerations are subject to errors, numerically integrated velocities and positions are as well.
This brings up the idea of a sensor fusion of computed velocities from measured accelerations and measured GNSS velocities. Thus, the purpose of this work is to evaluate the individual sources of translational velocities for the suitability to sensor fusion in the context of snow avalanche dynamics.
For latter evaluation we compare the Euclidean norm of translational velocities from three different sources.
The velocities from the IMU are derived by time integration of global acceleration data. Whereas the global acceleration data is obtained by transformation of measured local accceleration by means of computed rotation matrices.
GNSS translational velocities are either obtained by the time derivative of the GNSS positioning data or directly via the Doppler shift in the signal, whereby the Doppler method is more accurate and delivers a smoother velocity distribution.
To evaluate this method a data set from a real size snow avalanche is used. It was obtained on the 23th of January, 2022 on Nordkette in Innsbruck, Austria. The AvaNode was carried by a size D-2 avalanche from the release area all the way to the deposition area. Here, the AvaNode traveled a distance of 430m and reached a maximum velocity of 16m/s.
When comparing the Euclidean norm of GNSS velocities and IMU velocity we can observe a mean difference of 1.1 m/s. Additionally, a difference of 0.9 m/s in peak velocities was noticed, as well as similar acceleration and deceleration phases. Hence, the various velocities show high potential for future sensor fusion. Especially errors due to IMU sensor drifts could be reduced significantly.
Abstract ID 817 | Date: 2022-09-13 17:10 – 17:20 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: THEOLOGIE – SRVI |
Hellström, Robert Å. (1); Mark, Bryan G. (2,3); Mateo, Emilio I. (2,3)
1: Bridgewater State University, United States of America
2: Ohio State University, United States of America
3: Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, United States of America
Keywords: Low-Cost, Weather Sensors, Sustainable, Elevation Dependent Warming, Andes
Wet and dry seasons and strong diurnal variability of the outer Tropics and steep terrain dictate weather patterns in the northern Peruvian Andes. Herein we report on the instrumentation, installation, maintenance challenges, data gaps and error corrections necessary to analyze the 2006-2019 record of hourly measurements from an embedded sensor network (ESN) consisting of HOBO weather stations anchoring four low-cost, shielded Lascar El-USB2 dataloggers hanging in trees between the elevations 3,500 and 4,750 m a.s.l. in the pro-glacial Llanganuco Valley in the Ranrahirca sub-basin. ESN data were physically downloaded from dataloggers during annual June-August field expeditions and through partnerships with the water authority office and Huascaran national park office in Huaraz, Peru. HOBO data loggers were replaced with Iridium® satellite DataGarrison stations in 2014 to reduce data loss and allow real-time monitoring of weather patterns. We also report on two DataGarrison weather stations installed in 2014 at 3900 m within the Qualcayhuanca sub-basin and at 4700 m at Cuchillacocha which feeds into the sub-basin. Irrespective of limitations, we demonstrate the usefulness of these datasets. We found strong temporal variability in freezing-level height (FLH) connected to ENSO cycles and greater warming rates at higher elevations suggestive of valley fluxes that could impact the mass balance of glaciers. The FLH rose by 200 meters over the last decade with an average diurnal range from 150 meters during the wet to 420 meters during the dry seasons. While the observed rate of warming at 4000 m was less than 0.1 C/decade the warming at 4400 m was 0.7 C/decade and 0.5 C/decade at 4600 m. The linear trend of monthly near-surface lapse rates (LRs) suggests negative LR feedback from 9 C/km in 2006 to 7.5 C/km in 2019 with an average seasonal range in 2016 to 2019 from 6.5 C/km in the wet season to 8.5 C/km in the dry season. Although relatively weak averaging less than 2 m/s, wind speed at 4000m decreased from by 0.5 m/s over the last decade of the record. Rainfall at 4000m decreased slightly with significant decrease in heavier events over the last decade of the record. Our results and collaborations with climate modelers suggest that sustained, low-cost ESNs have value in climate studies and can help inform climate algorithms about important diurnal and seasonal cycles in glaciated Tropical mountains.