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DOI 10.4461/GFDQ.2016.39.7


A minimal model approach for glacier length modeling in the Western Italian Alps

Pages 69-82


We study the response of a set of glaciers in the Western Italian Alps to climate variations using a minimal glacier modeling approach, first introduced by Oerlemans. The mathematical models are forced over the period 1959-2009, using temperature and precipitation recorded by a dense network of meteorological stations, and we find a good match between the observed and modeled glacier length dynamics, especially for the two glaciers that have observed surface mass balance, i.e. Ciardoney and Grand Etrèt, and, in absence of observed surface mass balance, for small glaciers, such as Basei, Bessanese, and Capra. Forcing the model with future projections from a state-of-the-art global climate model in the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, we show how this approach can be used to obtain a first estimate for the future evolution of these glaciers length and we discuss the related uncertainties.

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