Mass Balance of Kesselwandferner

KWF 2020_rprinz

Kesselwandferner 03.09.2020. Photographer: Rainer Prinz

Kesselwandferner is a mountain glacier situated in the Eastern Alps of Austria (46.84° North / 10.79°E). The glacier descends from 3500 m a.s.l. to 2750 m a.s.l.. The mean air temperature (1906-2005) measured at the climate station Vent (1890 m a.s.l) was 1.6 °C and the mean annual lapse rate is 0.57 °C/100 m.

The glacier mass balance monitoring is carried out by ACINN, subject to a contract with the Hydrographic Service, Government of Tyrol and additionally funded by the University of Innsbruck. Area changes are detected using airborne photogrammetry and, more recently via periodic airborne LIDAR-campaigns. From 1966 until 2013 the approximate annual mass balance was obtained from a few flow-line stakes and the assumption that the mass balance is analogous to that from the neighbouring Hintereisferner. More, recently, from 2013 onwards the mass balance is measured more comprehensively by the direct glaciological method. Full winter balance measurements are performed annually at the beginning of May. Ice ablation is measured at ca. 10 operational ablation stakes which are commonly read two to six times a year - depending on the respective location. Accumulation is measured in snow pits at the end of the hydrological year in late September, and by probing to measure the depth of the annual snow layer in the accumulation area. You can learn more about methods of measuring glaciological mass balance from the UNESCO Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms.

The results of the mass balance studies are submitted annually to the World Glacier Monitoring Service.

Data access via WGMS database.


Mass-balance plot KWF WGMS


Detailed information on the measurements in the form of annual reports is available at the ACINN on request.
Mass balance reports for Hintereisferner and Kesselwandferner (in German):

  Bericht HEF-KWF1213
  Bericht HEF-KWF1314
  Bericht HEF-KWF1415
  Bericht HEF-KWF1516
  Bericht HEF-KWF1617
  Bericht HEF-KWF1718
  Bericht HEF-KWF1819
  Bericht HEF-KWF1920
  Bericht HEF-KWF2021 
Bericht HEF-KWF2022
Bericht HEF-KWF2023


Project Leader:
Rainer PRINZ


Project Duration:
01/01/1966 to 

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