Rolleston Glacier: First decade of mass balance measurement and the implications of climate change on mass balance monitoring (2021)
Rolleston Glacier is a small glacier located near Arthurs Pass. It is one of only two NZ glaciers at which mass balance is directly measured. After the first decade of monitoring (2011-2020), the cumulative mass balance is -6.8 m w.e., or -0.7 m w.e. per year. Rolleston Glacier is also photographed each year as part of NIWA’s end-of-summer snowline monitoring program. There is a statistically significant relationship between measured annual mass balance and the position of the EOSS (R2 0.89, p=0.0001). However, neither method accurately records ice volume loss in strongly negative years, and sometimes the only remaining mass input on the glacier is derived from snow avalanche off Mt Philistine. This secondary snow input is estimated to be approximately 25% of winter snow accumulation; but the actual volume gained by this process is yet to be determined. A recent purchase of a Riegl VUX-240 laser scanner (pers. comm., J. Brasington), provides new opportunity to supplement the existing field program with geodetic mass balance measurement. Such an approach will not only be more robust in extremely negative years, but will improve understanding of spatial variability in accumulation and ablation processes, and increase our ability to estimate future changes to alpine hydrology.
CitationPurdie H, Kerr T, Rack W, Lorrey A (2021). Rolleston Glacier: First decade of mass balance measurement and the implications of climate change on mass balance monitoring. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand: The Snow and ice Research Group Workshop: Understanding Mountain Climate II. 09/02/2021-13/02/2021.
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ANZSRC Fields of Research37 - Earth sciences::3709 - Physical geography and environmental geoscience::370902 - Glaciology
RightsAll rights reserved unless otherwise stated
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Kerr T; Purdie H; Rack W (2020)The Rolleston Glacier loses enough water each year to fill an Olympic swimming pool 31 times. Put another way, an average of 0.7 m depth of water across the entire glacier has been lost each year for the last ten years. ...
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Baumann S; Anderson B; Chinn T; Mackintosh A; Collier C; Lorrey AM; Rack W; Purdie H; Eaves S (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2020)The only complete inventory of New Zealand glaciers was based on aerial photography starting in 1978. While there have been partial updates using 2002 and 2009 satellite data, most glaciers are still represented by the ...