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The application of a non-linear back-propagation neural network to study the mass balance of Grosse Aletschgletscher, Switzerland

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Glacier mass changes are considered to represent key variables related to climate variability. We have reconstructed a proxy for annual mass-balance changes in Grosse Aletschgletscher, Swiss Alps, back to AD 1500 using a non-linear back-propagation neural network (BPN). The model skill of the BPN performs better than reconstructions using conventional stepwise multiple linear regression. The BPN, driven by monthly instrumental series of local temperature and precipitation, provides a proxy for 20th-century mass balance. The long-term mass-balance reconstruction back to 1500 is based on a multi-proxy approach of seasonally resolved temperature and precipitation reconstructions (mean over a specific area) as input variables. The relation between the driving factors (temperature, precipitation) used and the reconstructed mass-balance series is discussed. Mass changes in Grosse Aletschgletscher are shown to be mainly influenced by summer (June–August) temperatures, but winter (December–February) precipitation also seems to contribute. Furthermore, we found a significant non-linear part within the climate–mass-balance relation of Grosse Aletschgletscher.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2005

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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