814043 Glacier mass-balance measurements - winter-balance

Practical course
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Offered in
Sommersemester 2023
Languages of instruction


The aim of the course series 'Glacier mass-balance measurements' is to conduct mass-balance measurements on two glaciers in the region of Hoher Sonnblick (3106 m). During the field trip the theoretical knowledge, which was acquired during the seminar (814042), will be demonstrated in practice and various measurements will be conducted.

The winter-balance will be measured end of April or begin of May. To achieve this we will climb the Hoher Sonnblick with touring ski and dig snow pits to the horizon of the previous year. In the snow pits the snow-density, -temperature, and -stratification will be measured. At selected snow pits also snow-samples will be taken for subsequent chemical analysis. Additionally the area-wide snow-depth will be measured with a avalanche-probe.

Eventually the acquired data has to be evaluated.

Previous knowledge expected

The successful completion of the seminar (814027) is a prerequisite.

For the field trips profound experience in high alpine terrain (on touring ski and on bare ice), surefootedness, and high level of fitness are required.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Students should acquire the following:
* Basic knowledge on glacial processes.
* Basic knowledge on processes related to snow (formation, evolution of the snow-pack, melt).
* Practical experience on measuring the mass-balance of glaciers under difficult conditions.
* The ability to evaluate measurement data, if applicable using a geoinformation system (GIS).
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.