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Volume 5 (1) - 1982


Recent glaciological research in the Ortles-Cevedale region (Italian Alps)

Pages 75-81


The Caresèr Glacier (surface area 4.8290 km2 , snout height 2 857 m) is situated in the Ortles Cevedale Massif (Central Alps), the most strongly glaciated region of the southern slope of the Alpine chain. Under observation since the end of the last century, since 1925 the glacier has been subjected to various types of research, including hydroelectrical use of its waters, currently dammed at 2 600 m. Moreover, various large-scale photogrammetric surveys have been carried out during the last 50 years. In 1966 a research programme was begun on the glacier’s mass balance, established by means of the separate evaluation of gross accumulation and ablation ever its entire surface. This report presents the results obtained for the period 1966-67÷1977-78. Although net balance is moderately negative for the period in question (- 140 mm of water equivalent/year, equal to a total loss of mass of about 8 x 10 6 m3 ), and although the equilibrium line shows a rise of only 28 m with respect to its position under steady-state conditions, the ratio accumulation area/ablation area now turns out to be greatly modified with respect to steady state condition (1 : 1.6 against 1: 1). This capacity of the glacier to amplify the variations of its net balance and thus the effect of climatic parameters, maintains it in a state of unbalance although to a lesser extent than in the past; this continues to cause evident modifications in the ablation area and persistent snout retreat, in contrast with the current prevailing tendency of Italian glaciers to advance.

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