Compiling historical glacier data
Glaciological measurements in Switzerland go back a long way. Some of the time series were started in the 19th century and are among the world's longest glaciological series. To ensure the quality and interpretability of long data series, it is indispensable that historical glacier data are stored and documented appropriately. While today the collected information contains detailed metadata, for 20th century measurements these are only available to a limited extent, if at all. Accurate documentation is essential to ensure a consistent re-evaluation of the time series with proper quality control as well as to estimate uncertainties.
This project processed all direct measurements of the mass balance of Swiss glaciers since the start of the 20th century in full detail. The original observations were tracked down in the archives and the various types of information, such as measurement techniques, underlying assumptions, and the exact time and date of field surveys, were compiled in a detailed dataset. These new data and metadata are stored in an extensive database, which enables a more detailed and carefully documented re-evaluation of long-term time series on glacier mass balance, making them of greater use for global climate monitoring.