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Rescue, documentation and re-analysis of glacier monitoring data


Long-​term glacier monitoring in Switzerland has resulted in some of the longest and most complete data series at the global scale. The direct observations of mass balance date back until the late 19th century and, at some sites, have been continued until today. Data acquired in the frame of GLAMOS are stored in a database and documented metadata are available for the more recent measurements. For observations performed before about the year 2000, in contrast, it is often difficult to reconstruct complete sets of metadata. However, accurate metadata are highly important for homogenisation of the in-​situ measurements and for tracing the origin of the observations. Furthermore, metadata are indispensable for the re-​analysis of the long-​term series, including an assessment of their uncertainty.

The present project sets out to significantly advance the documentation of long-​term glacier data within Swiss glacier monitoring activities. First, we will target the rescue and homogeneous storage of yet scattered data of seasonal/annual point mass balance (both in printed and digital form). Second, a better documentation of metadata is envisaged allowing full traceability – wherever possible – of the applied measurement methods and the involved uncertainties. Third, we aim at completely re-​analysing long-​term series of glacier-​wide mass balance in order to deliver consistent data sets for further studies. All rescued, documented and homogenized glacier data will be stored and made available for scientific and public needs.

The project is an extension of the activities pursued within Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (GLAMOS), and is made possible through the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Switzerland.