Articles | Volume 8, issue 3
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 729–751, 2020
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 729–751, 2020

Research article 11 Sep 2020

Research article | 11 Sep 2020

Current glacier recession causes significant rockfall increase: the immediate paraglacial response of deglaciating cirque walls

Ingo Hartmeyer et al.

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Preprint under review for NHESS
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A 6-year lidar survey reveals enhanced rockwall retreat and modified rockfall magnitudes/frequencies in deglaciating cirques
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Cited articles

Abellán, A., Vilaplana, J. M., Calvet, J., García-Sellés, D., and Asensio, E.: Rockfall monitoring by Terrestrial Laser Scanning – case study of the basaltic rock face at Castellfollit de la Roca (Catalonia, Spain), Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 829–841,, 2011. 
Akca, D.: Least squares 3-D surface matching, Ph.D. thesis, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, 2007. 
Allen, S. K., Cox, S. C., and Owens, I. F.: Rock avalanches and other landslides in the central Southern Alps of New Zealand: a regional study considering possible climate change impacts, Landslides, 8, 33–48, 2010. 
Auer, I., Foelsche, U., Böhm, R., Chimani, B., Haimberger, L., Kerschner, H., Koinig, K. A., Nicolussi, K., and Spötl, C.: Vergangene Klimaänderung in Österreich, in: Österreichischer Sachstandsbericht Klimawandel 2014 (AAR14), edited by: Kromp-Kolb, H., Nakicenovic, N., Steininger, K., Gobiet, A., Formayer, H., Köppl, A, Prettenthaler, F., Stötter, J., and Schneider, J., Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, Austria, 227–300, 2014. 
Augustinus, P. C.: Glacial valley cross-profile development: the influence of in situ rock stress and rock mass strength, with examples from the Southern Alps, New Zealand, Geomorphology, 14, 87–97, 1995. 
Short summary
Climate warming is causing significant ice surface lowering even in the uppermost parts of alpine glaciers. Using terrestrial lidar, we quantify rockfall in freshly exposed cirque walls. During 6-year monitoring (2011–2017), an extensive dataset was established and over 600 rockfall events identified. Drastically increased rockfall activity following ice retreat can clearly be observed as 60 % of the rockfall volume detached from less than 10 m above the glacier surface.