Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., Lieb G.K., Kaufmann V., Avian M. (2019): Permafrost Monitoring National Park Hohe Tauern Carinthia 2016-2018. Project report (unpublished), 41 pages.
This final report presents and discusses results of permafrost monitoring by the University of Graz and Graz University of Technology in four different research areas in the Hohe Tauern Carinthia National Park. On the one hand, the results of the 2017/18 measurement year and, on the other hand, the results from the last years, taking into account the time before the project in question, are examined together to bring the results into a longer-term context. This aims to make climate-controlled tendencies recognizable from the measured data. The multi-method approach shall include measurements of the following indicators: (I) soil temperatures at and near the surface, (ii) surface movement of block glaciers, (iii) change of terrain height due to mass movement and removal of rock walls, and (iv) various climate elements focusing on the air temperature.
The 2017/18 period showed much less favourable conditions for permafrost than the previous year. Only at 5 out of 30 sites (17 %) with corresponding soil temperature data series, the annual average for 2017/18 was lower than that of 2016/17. The block glacier movement, on the other hand, decreased with the exception of the still fast-moving tongue of the block glacier in the rear Langtalkar.
The multi-year overview shows the general increase in air and soil temperature since the beginning of the measurement series in the Hohe Tauern Carinthia National Park. The current movement rates of block glaciers are generally very high compared to the last 20-25 years. The block glacier in the back of Langtalkar even dynamically protrudes and unfolds a bulldozer-like effect in the preceding terrain with postponement of the alpine grass heath. Overall, our results primarily reflect the high variability of permafrost dynamics from year to year, with differences in seasonal snow cover playing a major role. However, the results also show the general warming trend in the Austrian Alps and its effects on permafrost. This underlines that only long-term monitoring allows general statements about the development of permafrost.
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