Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (IMAU)

Ice and Climate: Automatic Weather Stations on glaciers


Alpine stations

Ice and Climate:
Automatic Weather Stations on glaciers


AWS in the Alpine regions of Europe. On some glaciers the AWS are part of a larger ongoing measuring program that includes mass balance and glacier velocity observations. The stations marked bold are still operational.

The Alpine stations

>  Morteratsch glacier, Switzerland

>  Hochjochferner, Italy/Austria

>  Storbreen, Norway

>  Midtdalsbreen, Hardangerjøkulen, Norway.

>  Hardangerjøkulen snow plateau, Norway

Morteratsch glacier, Switzerland


46°25' N, 09°25' E, ~2100 m a.s.l. (Argos id:03823)


August 1994 to still operational

Live data:



The station is visited several times per year to prevent the sonic height ranger from melting out and in winter to install snow temperature sensors and measure snow density. Due to the ongoing retreat of the glacier, the AWS had to be moved several times to a higher location. Since 2016 the station is located in the upper ablation zone of the Morteratsch glacier (see map), and is part of the MortAlive project. This project investigates the possibility to slow down the retreat of the glacier by covering a part of the melt zone by snow throughout the summer (link)


Hochjochferner, Italy/Austria


46°47' N, 10°48.2' E, ~2800 m a.s.l.


September 2011 to September 2016


The station was part of an educational program.

In July 2013 a camera was installed which made during day time every 2 hours a picture of the glacier. The movie below is based on daily images taken around 14.00.


Storbreen, Norway


61°35' N, 08°10' E, ~1570 m a.s.l.


September 2001 to still operational


Each year the station is visited at the end of August.


Midtdalsbreen, Hardangerjøkulen, Norway.


60°34' N, 07°28' E, ~1449 m a.s.l.


October 2000 to August 2013


The project was a cooperation with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).


Hardangerjøkulen snow plateau, Norway


60°33' N, 07°27' E, ~1860 m a.s.l.


May 2005 to March 2006


The station was installed in summer 2005 but did not survive the winter of 2005/2006 due to ice accumulation on the mast. It was decided not to make a second attempt.