HEFEX/HINTERACT summer of fieldwork

Whatever we call the field campaign we carried out at Hintereisferner this summer it was a cracker! We pulled together a team of specialists to combine:

  1. large scale terrestrial laser scans of Hintereisferner surface to see how the glacier is surface changed over August (Rudi Sailer from the University of Innsbruck)
  2. local photogrammetric and wind tower measurements from which we can calculate the surface roughness of the glacier which is an important control on how energy is exchanged between the atmosphere and the glacier (Mark Smith, Josh Chambers, Tom Smith from the University of Leeds)
  3. direct measurements of multi-level near surface turbulence to measure heat advection from the surrounding valley slope onto the glacier (Rebecca Mott, Max Kehl from KIT/IMK-LFU)
  4. multi-station monitoring of katabatic (downslope) airflow over the glacier (Iva Stiperski, Alexander Kehl, Lindsey Nicholson, Jordan Mertes from the University of Innsbruck)
  5. thermal imaging of near surface airflow over small sample sites on the glacier surface (Rebecca Mott, Max Kehl from KIT/IMK-LFU)

Boom! With a lot of effort, and help from our friends, we pulled off something cool on a shoe string budget. Massive thanks are due to all those that helped us: Philipp Vettori, Rainer Diewald, Paul Gruner, Anna Wirbel, Irmi Juen, Matthias Dusch, Michael Kuhn, the University of Lausanne who lent Rebecca several sonic anemometers, Heli Tirol and more …. danke!

The instrumentation consisted of a series of eight automatic weather stations with varying sensors installed on them. 5 of the stations used are MOMAA stations, designed by SensAlpin GmbH in Davos, Switzerland. These consisted of a stable tripod mast, with a 2D sonic anemometer at the top of an adjustable mast, ventilated temperature and humidity measurements and air pressure measurements, logged to a Campbell scientific catalogger and powered by solar panels. We took 5 stations with this basic set up and added sonic anemometers at 1.5 and 3.0m heights to 4 of them. 3 of these were placed in a transect from the edge of the glacier to the center line and the last was placed upglacier along the central flow line above the transect but below a weather station that has been operating seasonally on the glacier since 2014. The 5th and final MOMAA weather station was installed with additional mechanical anemometers at 1.5 and 3.0m height at the terminus of the glacier. In addition to the MOMAA stations and the permanent weather station on the glacier, 2 wind towers were installed and operated at the locations of the photographic plots, and later along the glacier central flow line to monitor katabatic (glacier downslope) winds. Here are the stations and sensors all being tested on the roof of our institute in July:

The stations were running between the 1st and 22nd of August 2018 (with a few minor data gaps when one instrument was found to be faulty, and one of the stations fell over!), and offer a valuable dataset for understanding the micrometeorology of the glacier. Here is one of the stations being installed:

The team from Leeds was funded through an INTERACT Transnational Access Grant, for their project  “Glacier Aerodynamic Roughness Estimate” (GLARE). You can read the GLARE team blogs about their trip here: https://arcticresearch.wordpress.com/category/blogs-from-the-field/rough-ice/. The team from KIT was funded through a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) grant, and the team from Innsbruck was funded primarily through an Austrian Science Fund (FWF) grant.

Here is an overview of the weather stations installed and operated during August (in UTM):

About lindsey

Environmental scientist. I am glaciologist specialising in glacier-climate interactions to better understand the climate system. The point of this is to understand how glaciated envionments might change in the future - how the glaciers will respond and what the impact on associated water resources and hazard potential will be.
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