Variations of Pasterze Glacier (Austria) between 1994 and 2006 – Combination of Different Data Sets for Spatial Analysis

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Avian Michael, Lieb Gerhard Karl, A. Kellerer-Pirklbauer, Bauer A.

HMRSC2006, 9th International Symposium High Mountain Remote Sensing Cartography (HMRSC), Graz, Austria, 2006 , 2006


Monitoring glacier variations are crucial in observing the ongoing global warming as a result of climate change. Integration of different data sets such as long term records from traditional measurements as well as short term monitoring with new techniques are of great importance. The record of spatial variations of Pasterze glacier (47°04’ N, 12°44’ E - the largest glacier within the Austrian Alps) represents one of the longest data series in the Alps starting with annual measurements as early as 1878. The results clearly show that since then the glacier never advanced
(substantially) due to the short duration of colder phases in this period. This paper focuses on the recent development of the glacier terminus which is characterised not only by a pronounced retreat but also by an accelerated surface lowering combined with ice collapse. In addition to “traditional” tachymetric survey at cross-sections and at the glacier terminus, laser scanning combined with GPS-data create areal information with high spatial resolution since recent years. Thus, area wide information about surface elevation and morphology changes has been collected. Furthermore, methodological questions involved in these investigations are discussed.