Changing rock glaciers in the Kauner Valley since 1953

Not only glaciers are melting as a result of climate change, but also rock glaciers, a downslope moving mixture of debris and ice, are changing. Therefore, the change in flow velocities for selected rock glaciers in the Kauner Valley was determined back to 1953. Although the maximum measured flow velocities on the investigated rock glaciers are only about 1.5 m per year, an increase in flow velocities could be observed, especially since 1997. The volume change of the rock glaciers was also determined. This shows that they have lost volume during the study period. In addition to a possible compression of the marterial, this is mainly due to the melting of the contained ice. The acceleration and volume loss of the rock glaciers can be linked to changes in climate parameters (snow, precipitation and temperature). More detailed information on this study can be found in an article published as a preprint in the journal „The Cryosphere Discuss“ (link).

Figure 1: Rock glacier with maps of flow velocities (blue – low, red – high) in metres per year. This clearly shows the increase in velocities from the period 1997 – 2006 onward.