Daniel Farinotti

Daniel Farinotti
ETH Zurich | ETH Zürich · Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW)

Assistant Professor

About

124
Publications
53,117
Reads
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6,127
Citations
Introduction
Daniel Farinotti is a glaciologist at the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), ETH Zurich, and at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf.
Additional affiliations
August 2016 - August 2021
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Professor
August 2016 - August 2021
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Professor
November 2014 - present
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (124)
Article
Full-text available
Glacier monitoring in Switzerland has resulted in some of the longest and most complete data series globally. Mass balance observations at individual locations, starting in the 19th century, are the backbone of the monitoring as they represent the raw and original glaciological data demonstrating the response of snow accumulation and snow/ice melt...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing climate change and associated glacier retreat is causing rapid environmental change, including shifts in high-alpine landscapes. Glacier lakes, which can form in topographical depressions left behind by glacier retreat, are prominent features within such landscapes. Whilst model-based estimates for the number and area of future glacier lake...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers play a crucial role in the Earth System: they are important water suppliers to lower‐lying areas during hot and dry periods, and they are major contributors to the observed present‐day sea‐level rise. Glaciers can also act as a source of natural hazards and have a major touristic value. Given their societal importance, there is large scien...
Article
Full-text available
Currently, about 12 %–13 % of High Mountain Asia’s glacier area is debris-covered, which alters its surface mass balance. However, in regional-scale modelling approaches, debris-covered glaciers are typically treated as clean-ice glaciers, leading to a bias when modelling their future evolution. Here, we present a new approach for modelling debris...
Preprint
Full-text available
Debris flows threaten communities in mountain regions worldwide. Combining modern photogrammetric processing with autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights at sub-weekly intervals allows mapping of sediment dynamics in a debris flow catchment. This provides important information for sediment disposition that pre-conditions the catchment for...
Article
With ongoing climate change water availability in the source regions of alpine streams are at stake. In particular, dry mountain regions which currently rely on glacial meltwater will need to adapt. Since rock glaciers are more resilient to climate change and occur in nearly all high‐mountain catchments around the globe with some form of glacieriza...
Article
Full-text available
The englacial and subglacial drainage systems exert key controls on glacier dynamics. However, due to their inaccessibility, they are still only poorly understood and more detailed observations are important, particularly to validate and tune physical models describing their dynamics. By creating artificial glacier moulins – boreholes connected to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ongoing climate change and associated glacier retreat is causing rapid environmental change, including shifts in high-alpine landscapes. Glacier lakes, which can form in topographical depressions left behind by glacier retreat, are prominent features within such landscapes. Whilst model-based estimates for the number and area of future glacier lake...
Preprint
Full-text available
The monitoring of glaciers in Switzerland has a long tradition, yet glacier changes during the 20th century are only known through sparse observations. Here, we estimate a halving of Swiss glacier volumes between 1931 and 2016 by mapping historical glacier elevation changes at high resolution. Our analysis relies on a terrestrial image archive know...
Preprint
Full-text available
Glacier monitoring in Switzerland has resulted in some of the longest and most complete data series globally. Mass balance observations at individual locations, starting in the 19th century, are the backbone of the monitoring as they represent the raw and original glaciological data demonstrating the response of snow accumulation and snow/ice melt...
Article
Full-text available
Plain Language Summary Glaciers mostly move smoothly and slowly. But regularly at specific locations at the glacier bed, the ice suddenly slips forward. This slip causes an “icequake” which is similar to a small earthquake, but so weak, that one cannot feel it. However, electronic sensors on the ice surface can measure it but lots of information ge...
Article
Full-text available
The glacier-dammed Lac des Faverges, located on Glacier de la Plaine Morte (Swiss Alps), has drained annually as a glacier lake outburst flood since 2011. In 2018, the lake volume reached more than 2 × 106 m3, and the resulting flood caused damage to the infrastructure downstream. In 2019, a supraglacial channel was dug to artificially initiate a s...
Article
Full-text available
Short-term glacier variations can be important for water supplies or hydropower production, and glaciers are important indicators of climate change. This is why the interest in near-real-time mass balance nowcasting is considerable. Here, we address this interest and provide an evaluation of continuous observations of point mass balance based on on...
Preprint
Full-text available
Currently, about 12–13 % of High Mountain Asia's glacier area is debris-covered, altering its surface mass balance. However, in regional-scale modelling approaches, debris-covered glaciers are typically treated as clean-ice glaciers, leading to a potential bias when modelling their future evolution. Here, we present a new approach for modelling deb...
Preprint
Full-text available
The glacier-dammed Lac des Faverges, located on Glacier de la Plaine Morte (Swiss Alps), drained annually as a glacier lake outburst flood since 2011. In 2018, the lake volume reached more than 2 × 106 m3 and the resulting flood caused damages to the infrastructure downstream. In 2019, a supraglacial channel was dug to artificially initiate a surfa...
Article
Full-text available
With the Paris Agreement, the urgency of limiting ongoing anthropogenic climate change has been recognised. More recent discussions have focused on the difference of limiting the increase in global average temperatures below 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 ∘C compared to preindustrial levels. Here, we assess the impacts that such different scenarios would have on...
Article
Full-text available
On 7 Feb 2021, a catastrophic mass flow descended the Ronti Gad, Rishiganga, and Dhauliganga valleys in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India, causing widespread devastation and severely damaging two hydropower projects. Over 200 people were killed or are missing. Our analysis of satellite imagery, seismic records, numerical model results, and eyewitness vid...
Article
Evacuation of basal sediment by subglacial drainage is an important mediator of rates of glacial erosion and glacier flow. Glacial erosion patterns can produce closed basins (i.e., overdeepenings) in glacier beds, thereby introducing adverse bed gradients that are hypothesised to reduce drainage system efficiency and thus favour basal sediment accu...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate knowledge of the ice thickness distribution and glacier bed topography is essential for predicting dynamic glacier changes and the future developments of downstream hydrology, which are impacting the energy sector, tourism industry and natural hazard management. Using AIR-ETH, a new helicopter-borne ground-penetrating radar (GPR) platform,...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature measurements in boreholes are the most common method allowing the quantitative and direct observation of permafrost evolution in the context of climate change. Existing boreholes and monitoring networks often emerged in a scientific context targeting different objectives and with different setups. A standardized, well-planned and robust...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are shrinking rapidly, altering regional hydrology¹, raising global sea level² and elevating natural hazards³. Yet, owing to the scarcity of constrained mass loss observations, glacier evolution during the satellite era is known only partially, as a geographic and temporal patchwork4,5....
Article
Full-text available
Since rock glaciers are believed to be more resilient to climate change, water stores therein may become important water reservoirs in future, in particular in dry regions, which currently rely on glacial runoff. In order to estimate and evaluate the future runoff potential from permafrost and rock glaciers, distributed runoff models suitable for h...
Article
Full-text available
Due to climate change, worldwide glaciers are rapidly declining. The trend will continue into the future, with consequences for sea level, water availability and tourism. Here, we assess the future evolution of all glaciers in Scandinavia and Iceland until 2100 using the coupled surface mass-balance ice-flow model GloGEMflow. The model is initialis...
Article
Full-text available
Glacier mass-balance observations at seasonal resolution have been performed since 1914 at two sites on Claridenfirn, Switzerland. The measurements are the longest uninterrupted records of glacier mass balance worldwide. Here, we provide a complete re-analysis of the 106-year series (1914–2020), focusing on both point and glacier-wide mass balance....
Preprint
Full-text available
With the Paris Agreement, the urgency of limiting ongoing anthropogenic climate change has been recognized. More recent discussions have focused on the difference of limiting the increase in global average temperatures below 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 °C compared to pre-industrial levels. Here, we assess the impacts that such different scenarios would have o...
Article
Full-text available
The artificial reduction of glacier melt is gaining increased attention due to accelerated ice wastage with atmospheric warming. In Switzerland, active coverage of glaciers using geotextiles is performed at currently nine sites and since up to 15 years. The measures represent an efficient method to locally safeguard the operability of ski slopes or...
Article
Full-text available
Knowing the ice thickness distribution of a glacier is of fundamental importance for a number of applications, ranging from the planning of glaciological fieldwork to the assessments of future sea-level change. Across spatial scales, however, this knowledge is limited by the paucity and discrete character of available thickness observations. To obt...
Article
Full-text available
The seasonal snowpack is a globally important water resource that is notoriously difficult to measure. Existing instruments make measurements of falling or accumulating snow water equivalent (SWE) that are susceptible to bias, and most represent only a point in the landscape. Furthermore the global array of SWE sensors is too sparse and too poorly...
Preprint
Full-text available
Glaciers fulfil important short-term functions like drinking water supply and they are important indicators of climate change. This is why the interest in near real-time mass balance nowcasting is high. Here, we address this interest and provide an evaluation of seven continuous observations of point mass balance based on on-line cameras transmitti...
Article
Full-text available
Although worldwide inventories of glacier area have been coordinated internationally for several decades, a similar effort for glacier ice thicknesses was only initiated in 2013. Here, we present the third version of the Glacier Thickness Database (GlaThiDa v3), which includes 3 854 279 thickness measurements distributed over roughly 3000 glaciers...
Article
Full-text available
The Mont-Blanc massif, being iconic with its large glaciers and peaks of over 4,000 m, will experience a sharp increase in summer temperatures during the twenty-frst century. By 2100, the impact of climate change on the cryosphere and hydrosphere in the Alps is expected to lead to a decrease in annual river discharge. In this work, we modelled the...
Article
Full-text available
As glaciers adjust their size in response to climate variations, long-term changes in meltwater production can be expected, affecting the local availability of water resources. We investigate glacier runoff in the period 1955–2016 in the Maipo River basin (4843 km2, 33.0–34.3∘ S, 69.8–70.5∘ W), in the semiarid Andes of Chile. The basin contains mor...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. Although worldwide inventories of glacier area have been coordinated internationally for several decades, a similar effort for glacier ice thicknesses was only initiated in 2013. Here, we present the third version of the Glacier Thickness Database (GlaThiDa v3), which includes 3 854 279 thickness measurements distributed over more than 30...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate estimations of ice thickness and volume are indispensable for ice flow modelling, hydrological forecasts and sea-level rise projections. We present a new ice thickness estimation model based on a mass-conserving forward model and a Bayesian inversion scheme. The forward model calculates flux in an elevation-band flow-line model, and transl...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers in the European Alps rapidly lose mass to adapt to changes in climate conditions. Here, we investigate the relationship and lag between climate forcing and geometric glacier response with a regional glacier evolution model accounting for ice dynamics. The volume loss occurring as a result of the glacier‐climate imbalance increased over the...
Article
Global-scale glacier shrinkage is one of the most prominent signs of ongoing climatic change. However, important differences in glacier response exist at the regional scale, and evidence has accumulated that one particular region stands out: the Karakoram. In the past two decades, the region has shown balanced to slightly positive glacier budgets,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. As glaciers adjust their size in response to climate variations, long-term changes in meltwater production can be expected, affecting the local availability of water resources. We investigate glacier runoff in the period 1955–2016 in the Maipo River Basin (4 843 km<sup>2</sup>), semiarid Andes of Chile. The basin contains more than 800 gl...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is causing widespread glacier retreat1, and much attention is devoted to negative impacts such as diminishing water resources2, shifts in runoff seasonality3, and increases in cryosphere-related hazards4. Here we focus on a different aspect, and explore the water-storage and hydropower potential of areas that are expected to become i...
Article
Full-text available
Extreme low and high flows can have negative economic, social, and ecological effects and are expected to become more severe in many regions due to climate change. Besides low and high flows, the whole flow regime, i.e., annual hydrograph comprised of monthly mean flows, is subject to changes. Knowledge on future changes in flow regimes is importan...
Article
Full-text available
Sediment discharge from glaciers impacts downstream aquatic habitats, hydropower operations, and river infrastructure. Since discharge of subglacial sediment will evolve in response to glacier retreat, estimating future subglacial sediment dynamics is of great relevance. To develop tools and methods to better constrain the responsible processes, we...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers in the European Alps play an important role in the hydrological cycle, act as a source for hydroelectricity and have a large touristic importance. The future evolution of these glaciers is driven by surface mass balance and ice flow processes, of which the latter is to date not included explicitly in regional glacier projections for the Al...
Preprint
Full-text available
Extreme low and high flows can have negative economical, societal, and ecological effects and are expected to become more severe in many regions due to climate change. Besides low and high flows, the whole flow regime is subject to changes. Knowledge on future changes in flow regimes is important since regimes contain information on both extremes a...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the ice thickness distribution of the world’s glaciers is a fundamental prerequisite for a range of studies. Projections of future glacier change, estimates of the available freshwater resources or assessments of potential sea-level rise all need glacier ice thickness to be accurately constrained. Previous estimates of global glacier v...
Article
Full-text available
In Alpine regions, future changes in glacier and snow cover are expected to change runoff regimes towards higher winter but lower summer discharge. The low summer discharge will coincide with the highest water demand for irrigation, and local and regional water shortages are expected to become more likely. One possible measure to adapt to these cha...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers in the European Alps play an important role in the hydrological cycle, act as a source for hydroelectricity and have a large touristic importance. The future evolution of these glaciers is driven by surface mass balance and ice flow processes, which the latter is to date not included in regional glacier projections for the Alps. Here, we m...
Article
Full-text available
Glaciers expel large amounts of water and sediments, and the discharge of both is influenced by glacier retreat. Because the majority of sediment originates subglacially, as opposed to proglacially, focus must be given to subglacial sediment discharge. The latter, however, is poorly constrained. We present a subglacial sediment transport time-serie...
Article
Full-text available
Runoff predictions are affected by several uncertainties. Among the most important ones is the uncertainty in meteorological forcing. We investigated the skill propagation of meteorological to runoff forecasts in an idealized experiment using synthetic data. Meteorological forecasts with different skill were produced with a weather generator and fe...
Article
Full-text available
The mountain cryosphere of mainland Europe is recognized to have important impacts on a range of environmental processes. In this paper, we provide an overview on the current knowledge on snow, glacier, and permafrost processes, as well as their past, current, and future evolution. We additionally provide an assessment of current cryosphere researc...