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Rock-wall temperatures in the Alps: modelling their topographic distribution and regional differences


Gruber, S; Hoelzle, M; Haeberli, W (2004). Rock-wall temperatures in the Alps: modelling their topographic distribution and regional differences. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 15(3):299-307.

Abstract

Rising temperatures or the complete thaw of permafrost in rock walls can affect their stability. Present as well as projected future atmospheric warming results in permafrost degradation and, as a consequence, makes knowledge of the spatial distribution and the temporal evolution of rock temperatures important. Rock-face near-surface temperatures have been measured over one year at 14 locations between 2500 and 4500 m a.s.l. in the Alps. Different slope aspects have been included in order to capture the maximum spatial differentiation of rock temperatures. These data were used to further develop and verify an energy-balance model that simulates daily surface temperatures over complex topography. Based on a 21-year (1982–2002) run of this model, spatial patterns of rock-face temperatures in the Swiss Alps are presented and discussed. This model provides a basis for the re-analysis of past rock-fall events with respect to permafrost degradation as well as for the simulation of future trends of rock temperatures. Furthermore, the spatial patterns of rock-wall temperatures provide a quantitative insight into the topography-related mechanisms affecting permafrost distribution in Alpine areas without local influence from snow cover or an active layer with a complex thermal offset.

Rising temperatures or the complete thaw of permafrost in rock walls can affect their stability. Present as well as projected future atmospheric warming results in permafrost degradation and, as a consequence, makes knowledge of the spatial distribution and the temporal evolution of rock temperatures important. Rock-face near-surface temperatures have been measured over one year at 14 locations between 2500 and 4500 m a.s.l. in the Alps. Different slope aspects have been included in order to capture the maximum spatial differentiation of rock temperatures. These data were used to further develop and verify an energy-balance model that simulates daily surface temperatures over complex topography. Based on a 21-year (1982–2002) run of this model, spatial patterns of rock-face temperatures in the Swiss Alps are presented and discussed. This model provides a basis for the re-analysis of past rock-fall events with respect to permafrost degradation as well as for the simulation of future trends of rock temperatures. Furthermore, the spatial patterns of rock-wall temperatures provide a quantitative insight into the topography-related mechanisms affecting permafrost distribution in Alpine areas without local influence from snow cover or an active layer with a complex thermal offset.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2004
Deposited On:20 Jul 2012 22:55
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:51
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:1045-6740 (P) 1099-1530 (E)
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp.501
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-63033

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