Supraglacial vegetation survey

Send a report ( filling in the form downloadable here

Among the most evident changes taking place in the Alpine landscape in response to climate change, there are the glaciers progressive shrinkage and the glacier tongues retreat. At the same the expansion of proglacial areas takes place after being gradually freed from the ice that are then recolonized by vegetation, including also trees. The increase in the glacier ablation rate and the greater intensity of rock degradation processes on the slopes enhance the concentration of debris in the terminal portions of the glaciers that sometimes are completely buried. Glacier areas located at an altitude below the vegetation potential limit, where the superficial velocity is low and the debris has a sufficient thickness, it is possible a colonization of supraglacial herbaceous, shrub and also tree vegetation. The supraglacial vegetation is also an indicator of the abiologic systems dynamics and is a valuable proxy for climate reconstructions and recent variations of debris covered glaciers.
Morphological, chemical and physical characteristics of tree rings may record both the climatic input responsible for the production of wood during the annual growth and the disturbance signals of stress caused by the movements of the debris and the ice beneath. It is therefore important to survey and analyze the supraglacial vegetation, where present, and to monitor the early stages colonization of the debris covered glaciers.
With this objective, the CGI has launched the census of supraglacial vegetation, since summer 2011 (organized by researchers of the University of Milan that have been developing dendroglaciological analyses and researches in this sector for long), which was attended by researchers and experts and interested people.

All people interested of Glaciology and hikers who frequent the Alpine glaciers can help in gathering information, sending a message about the supraglacial (i.e. ‘that are on the glacier’) vegetation.
For the research objectives it should be noted that it is also important to report “no vegetation” on the debris-covered glacier tongues as it does describe the situation for the year of observation.
Additional information can be found in the form that can be downloaded.
The material sent will be used only for the purposes of scientific research. The monitoring results are made available on the site.

For any question relative to this research, please contact:

HERE the surveys’ data already available

Comments are closed.