LTER AT >> Long Term Ecological Research Network Austria



Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) is an essential component of global efforts (ILTERNET) to better understand ecosystems. Also the European LTER chapter analyses ecosystems structures, functions, and long-term response to environmental, societal and economic drivers. Since 2012 the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics is a member of the LTER network contributing to the LTER AT site Mondsee. Since 2014 Z_GIS also coordinates the LTER site Stubacher Sonnblickkees.

LTER AT Site Mondsee
Since the end of the 1960s, the Research Institute for Limnology, University of Innsbruck as the main operator of the site Mondsee has collected physicochemical and biological data on lake Mondsee. These data were gathered in the course of numerous national research projects (FWF, National Bank, Federal County of Upper Austria) and international networks (EU, ESF, IPGL – International Training Programs in Limnology). The current research focus comprises the investigation of intraspecific evolution under changing environmental conditions and the possible consequences at ecosystem level. The role of the research is to deepen knowledge of the ecology and protection of inland waterways and thus a connection of the lake ecosystem with the surrounding catchment.
Since 2004 the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg focuses on the terrestrial part of the Mondsee catchment and joint the LTER site Mondsee in 2012. The mission of the landscape lab is to understand processes at the interface of climatology, hydrology, pedology. The landscape lab places an integrated holistic view while incorporating socio-cultural and economic influences on the landscape to develop the site Mondsee towards and LTSER (Long-Term Socio-economic and Ecosystem Research) platform. In particular Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques have been developed and deployed to model hydrological processes and investigate these with a real-time monitoring system initialised in 2013.

LTER Site Stubacher Sonnblickkees
LTER site Stubacher Sonnblickkees (SSK) is a long-range research site with a main focus on the measurement of the annual mass balance, going along with water budget estimations within the catchment area of the lake Weißsee.
SSK is located in the Hohe Tauern Range (Eastern Alps) in the south of Salzburg Province. From 1964 to 1981, the yearly mass balance was calculated by direct measurements. Until now a semi-direct method is used.
From the beginning in 1964 until 2013 Heinz Slupetzky, University of Salzburg, carried out the mass balance and related glaciological measurements as the principal investigator and as an adviser since then. The usual and necessary link to the climate and climate change is given by the weather station at the Rudolfshütte (operated by ZAMG and HDS).  - Great efforts are under way to continue the series and to guarantee a long-term monitoring of the mass balance and volume change of SSK. The mass balance record was the first one established in the Hohe Tauern region and is one of the two dozen longest series worldwide.  http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.829950

For more than 20 years the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) http://www.zgis.at has supported the research activities and monitoring programmes at Sonnblickkees in many ways: Monitoring glaciers with various data capture and photogrammetric methods as well as geospatial analysis workflows are the key contributions.

In recent years, the glacier has fast disintegrated, forced by the formation of a periglacial lake at the glacier terminus. The processes are monitored by HDS in cooperation with University of Salzburg. Modern and classical methods e.g. multi-temporal (aerial) photography, repeated terrestrial laser-scanning as well as bathymetry are used in an interdisciplinary approach to document the development of the lake. - Additionally, parameters like precipitation, temperature, water level, discharge and conductivity are registered. Regular daily water level fluctuations are monitored.  The recent lake also represents the development of a new ecosystem.

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