Mass Balance Factsheet for the Pasterze, Alps
Austria’s largest glacier is located at the foot of Großglockner (3798 m) and is the largest part of a combined mountain glacier system in the Eastern Alps. The total area of Pasterze is 15.3 km² (2018), it covers and altitudinal range from 3500 m to 2100 m a. s. l., is mainly exposed to SE and drains into the Möll river. There is only one narrow connection left between the large accumulation area and the 5 km long and partly debris covered glacier tongue. Geophysical surveys in 1998 revealed a maximum ice thickness of 320 m and a mean ice thickness of 64 m.
Annual mass balance observations have been carried out from 1979/80 to 1996/97 and were resumed in 2004/05. Average annual air temperature at 3100 m (approximate average ELA) is -4.5 °C (1991-2020). Measured average annual precipitation at near Sonnblick is 2560 mm (1991-2020). Since a few years, you can witness the rapid retreat of the glacier snout via a high quality webcam.
For additional information on the status of the glacier and on data relating to annual mass balance and other measurements, visit the WGMS Fluctuations of Glaciers Browser.
- Political unit: AT
- WGMS ID: 566
- Latitude: 47.1°N
- Longitude: 12.7°E
- Height min: 2100 m a.s.l.
- Height max: 3500 m a.s.l.
- Measurement types: MASS BALANCE, THICKNESS CHANGE & FRONT VARIATION
- Current Principal Investigator: Anton Neureiter & colleagues
- Current Sponsoring Agency: GEOSPHERE AUSTRIA, AUSTRIA’S INTEGRATED FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF GEOLOGY, GEOPHYSICS, CLIMATOLOGY AND METEOROLOGY (VIENNA, AT).
Terrestrial and satellite map of Pasterze (Google Maps)