Glacier melt close to record high

The dry and extreme warm summer months have severely eroded the glaciers in the Austrian Alps. Despite the above average snowpack in winter in the Hohe Tauern Mountains, Goldbergkees lost 1700 mm w.e. a-1 of mass and Kleinfleißkees 1400 mm w.e. a-1 of mass. That's just slightly behind the record melting of 2003, 2011, 2015 and 2017. Other glaciers in the northern Austrian Alps and in the West of Austria even suffered more than the glaciers in the Hohe Tauern. The reason for this is the lack of above average snowpack in winter compared to the Sonnblick glaciers. The glacier tongue of Pasterze continues to disintegrate. This part of the glacier, the area below the icefall, the debris free glacier had a mean loss of 6.2 m of ice thickness with a maximum at the glacier terminus up to 10 m.

Time lapse of melting snow from webcam Goldbergkees.

Annual mass balance for Kleinfleißkees (left) and Goldbergkees (right). The circles represents the ablation stake network with the annual loss in cm.

Time series of annual mass balance for Goldbergkees and Kleinfleißkees.

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Time lapse from the last three year (2016, 2017 and 2018) of Pasterze.