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Glaciological and volumetric mass-balance measurements: error analysis over 51 years for Glacier de Sarennes, French Alps

Abstract : The mass balance of Glacier de Sarennes, French Alps, has been measured since 1949, using the glaciological method based on core and ablation stake data, and area extrapolations, to find the overall glacier balance. The cumulative balance obtained in this way is very dependent on systematic errors that can increase linearly with the number, N, of measurement years, whereas random errors rise with √N. The volumetric−balance method based on aerial photogrammetry provides results whose errors do not depend on the number of years. This method was used to test field measurements for the period 1952-2003 and gives a mass balance of −32.30±1.04 m w.e. compared to −34.89±1.15 m w.e. based on field data. The discrepancy between the two methods is discussed on the basis of a careful error analysis. Moreover, the possibility of using the volumetric method to detect biases in field measurements is evaluated in terms of two types of errors. The number and locations of measurement sites required to account for all the spatial and temporal variabilities of the mass balance is discussed by variance analysis. Methodological implications and recommendations are presented to provide massbalance measurements of the best possible accuracy.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-00381089
Contributor : Aurore Gayraud <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - 11:03:34 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 25, 2020 - 9:16:02 AM

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E. Thibert, R. Blanc, Christian Vincent, N. Eckert. Glaciological and volumetric mass-balance measurements: error analysis over 51 years for Glacier de Sarennes, French Alps. Journal of Glaciology, International Glaciological Society, 2008, 54 (186), pp.522 à 532. ⟨10.3189/002214308785837093⟩. ⟨insu-00381089⟩

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