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Long-term monitoring (1953–2019) of geomorphologically active sections on LIA lateral moraines under changing meteorological conditions


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Altmann, Moritz ; Pfeiffer, Madlene ; Haas, Florian ; Rom, Jakob ; Fleischer, Fabian ; Heckmann, Tobias ; Piermattei, Livia ; Wimmer, Michael ; Braun, Lukas ; Stark, Manuel ; Betz-Nutz, Sarah ; Becht, Michael:
Long-term monitoring (1953–2019) of geomorphologically active sections on LIA lateral moraines under changing meteorological conditions.
In: Earth surface dynamics. 12 (2024) 1. - S. 399-431.
ISSN 2196-6311


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We show a long-term erosion monitoring of several geomorphologically active gully systems on Little Ice Age lateral moraines in the European Central–Eastern Alps, covering a total time period from 1953 to 2019 and including several survey periods in order to identify corresponding morphodynamic trends. For the implementation, DEM (digital elevation model) of Differences (DoDs) were calculated, based on multitemporal high-resolution digital elevation models from historical aerial images (generated by structure from motion photogrammetry with multi-view stereo) and light detection and ranging from airborne platforms. Two approaches were implemented to achieve the corresponding objectives. First, by calculating linear regression models using the accumulated sediment yield and the corresponding catchment area (on a log–log scale), the range of the variability in the spatial distribution of erosion values within the sites. Second, we use volume calculations to determine the total and the mean sediment yield (as well as erosion rates) of the entire sites. Subsequently, both the sites and the different time periods of both approaches are compared. Based on the slopes of the calculated regression lines, it can be shown that the highest variability in the sediment yield at the sites occurs in the first time period (mainly 1950s to 1970s). This can be attributed to the fact that within some sites the sediment yield per square metre increases clearly more strongly (regression lines with slopes up to 1.5). In contrast, in the later time periods (1970s to mid-2000s and mid-2000s to 2017/2019), there is generally a decrease in 10 out of 12 cases (regression lines with slopes around 1). However, even at sites with an increase in the variability in the sediment yield over time, the earlier high variabilities are no longer reached. This means that the spatial pattern of erosion in the gully heads changes over time as it becomes more uniform. Furthermore, using sediment volume calculations and corresponding erosion rates, we show a generally decreasing trend in geomorphic activity (amount of sediment yield) between the different time periods in 10 out of 12 sites, while 2 sites show an opposite trend, where morphodynamics increase and remain at the same level. Finally, we summarise the results of long-term changes in the morphodynamics of geomorphologically active areas on lateral moraines by presenting the “sediment activity concept”, which, in contrast to theoretical models, is based on actually calculated erosion. The level of geomorphic activity depends strongly on the characteristics of the sites, such as size, slope length, and slope gradient, some of which are associated with deeply incised gullies. It is noticeable that especially areas with influence of dead ice over decades in the lower slope area show high geomorphic activity. Furthermore, we show that system internal factors, as well as the general paraglacial adjustment process, have a greater influence on long-term morphodynamics than changing external weather and climate conditions, which, however, had a slight impact mainly in the last, i.e. most recent, time period (mid-2000s to 2017/2019) and may have led to an increase in erosion at the sites.

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Sprache des Eintrags:Englisch
Institutionen der Universität:Mathematisch-Geographische Fakultät > Geographie > Lehrstuhl für Physische Geographie
DOI / URN / ID:10.5194/esurf-12-399-2024
Open Access: Freie Zugänglichkeit des Volltexts?:Ja
Verlag:Copernicus Publ.
Die Zeitschrift ist nachgewiesen in:
Titel an der KU entstanden:Ja
Eingestellt am: 24. Mai 2024 11:10
Letzte Änderung: 24. Mai 2024 11:10
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