Spatial patterns of North Atlantic Oscillation influence on mass balance variability of European glaciers
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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We present and validate a set of minimal models of glacier mass balance variability. The most skillful model is then applied to reconstruct 7735 individual time series of mass balance variability for all glaciers in the European Alps and Scandinavia. Subsequently, we investigate the influence of atmospheric variability associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on the glaciers' mass balances. We find a spatial coherence in the glaciers' sensitivity to NAO forcing which is caused by regionally similar mechanisms relating the NAO forcing to the mass balance: in southwestern Scandinavia, winter precipitation causes a correlation of mass balances with the NAO. In northern Scandinavia, temperature anomalies outside the core winter season cause an anti-correlation between NAO and mass balances. In the western Alps, both temperature and winter precipitation anomalies lead to a weak anti-correlation of mass balances with the NAO, while in the eastern Alps, the influences of winter precipitation and temperature anomalies tend to cancel each other, and only on the southern side a slight anti-correlation of mass balances with the NAO prevails.