Research interests, Research topics, CV, Projects, Publications
While the large-scale climate conditions play an important role in shaping the environment in which glaciers exist, the mass and energy balance of each individual glacier is dictated by local conditions. Given the complex mountain topography around alpine glaciers, it is not trivial to find a direct link between the large-scale atmospheric motions and the local-scale weather conditions at an individual glacier, or even at a given point on the glacier. To understand this link we need a profound knowledge of the mutual interaction of atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamic processes.
Distributed alpine glacier models usually require high-resolution climate forcing to adequately represent ablation and accumulation processes. An unresolved issue in distributed mass balance modelling is the simulation of snow cover dynamics with impacts not only on the accumulation but, through the strong effect on spatio-temporal albedo evolution, also on the ablation. With this in mind, I have focused my research activities on the snow cover dynamics on mountain glaciers and ice caps through a combination of measurements and high-resolution modelling of precipitation, wind fields and transport, snow density and albedo changes, and surface energy balance in a way that satisfies the multi-scale nature of the problem.
Resolving the scale-discrepancy of precipitation in complex terrain has proven to be critical for mass-balance studies. Bridging the scale gap requires appropriate assumptions about the spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation, and the pertinent question is, what assumptions are appropriate given the nature of the specific problem addressed?