Workshop on the use of Automatic Weather Stations on Glaciers

28 - 31 March, Pontresina, Switzerland

Contact information

The workshop is organized by:
Hans Oerlemans and Carleen Reijmer
Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University
Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht
PO box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht
The Netherlands

Please direct your email to: c.h.tijm-reijmer @

General information

Below you will find information about registration, accommodation and practical information on the workshop on Automatic weather stations on glaciers in Pontresina, Switzerland.


The workshop will take four days, from 28 to 31 March 2004. During these four days three days are available for presentations and discussions. On one day an excursion is organized to automatic weather stations operated by IMAU on the Morteratschgletscher.
For those that plan to combine this workshop with holidays: there is an excellent rental service in Pontresina, also for all kinds of mountaineering equipment.


When deciding on your subject of presentation remember the purpose of this workshop, which is first of all an exchange of information. Running AWS on glaciers has many typical problems (logistics, power supply, bad weather, unstable surface, tourists, etc.), and it can be very helpful to hear from others how these problems have been solved (or not).
The idea is to make relatively short presentations on the equipment and how it is used - not scientific presentations on research work done with the data. So data can be discussed, but more to illustrate the possibilities or the problems.
A particular issue will be the upgrading of standard AWS to stations that collect additional data (e.g. the structure of the snowpack, spectral distribution of reflected radiation, snowdrift, turbulence).
Towards the end of the workshop a session is foreseen in which the use of AWS on glaciers is discussed in a broader context (e.g. is it feasible to recommend a strategy for the deployment of AWS to support satellite and mass-balance studies?).


There are several good hotels in the town of Pontresina. There are plenty of other hotels in Pontresina, see website of Pontresina.


Pontresina is easily accessible by public transport.
People traveling by train can find schedules on:
People travelling by plane can best fly to Zurich and then take a train to Pontresina.



The meeting will take place in the Rondo convention centre in Pontresina.


For your presentations there will be an overhead projector, slide projector and a power point projector available. We use Apple iBook with CDrom. Each presentation is 25 minutes of which the last 5 are for questions.


Poster boards will be available for those who wish to bring posters. The with and height of the boards is 1.2 m and 1.95 m, respectively.


The excursion will be to the Persch/Morteratschgletscher, where two AWS are located at different elevations.
The group will be split into two:
We will take the Diavolezza cable car and ski down from the mountain station (~3000 m) to the Perschgletscher, and then to the Morteratschgletscher to visit the lower AWS (at ~2100 m). Here we will meet the other group that will come from below. The route is marked, but not prepared. It can be done with normal downhill skis. Halfway there is a little climb (50 m) on a trail. Safety equipment (harnass etc.) is not needed. However, you should be able to master any regular black run.
Those who are not good downhill skiers
From the Landgasthaus Morteratsch (1800 m) we will walk to the glacier front and then, on snow shoes or backcountry skies for the experienced, up to the lower AWS (at 2100 m). Here we will meet the downhill skiers. We will spend some time at the AWS. Then we will all go back to the Landgasthaus Morteratsch in different styles, and have a beer or so on the terrace. The train will bring us back to Pontresina.
Equipment can be rented in Pontresina (also snow shoes). Costs: about 10 sfr for the train. For the skiers there is an additional 24 sfr for the cable car.

List of participants

Download the pdf-file with the list of participants

The extended abstracts

Download the pdf-file with all the extended abstracts, including 'Lessons to be learned' by J.Box, P.Anderson and M. van den Broeke, HERE (pdf, 4.8 Mb).

Links to useful web pages

Not available anymore


Sunday 28

    14:00 – 14:15 Welcome Johannes Oerlemans
    14:15 – 14:40 Operating the AWS at Western Canada glacier sites. Scott Munro
    14:40 – 15:05 High-elevation weather stations on glaciers in the Tropics and the High Arctic. Doug Hardy
    15:05 – 15:30 AWS in the ablation zones of glaciers. Johannes Oerlemans
    15:30 – 16:00 Coffee break
    16:00 – 16:25 Glacier margin micro-meteorology and its importance for weather station placement. Andy Bliss
    16:25 – 16:50 How useful are surface radiation balance observations from automatic weather stations in Antarctica? Michiel van den Broeke
    16:50 – 17:15 Measuring humidity at temperatures well below zero. Carleen Reijmer
    17:15 – 17:40 Meteorological and snow measurements on a mountain site in tropical Andes Data Set Build-up for Energy Balance Modeling. Yves Lejeune
    17:40 – 18:00 An AWS mounting device which mechanically adjusts itself to changing glacier surface conditions. Georg Kaser

Monday 29

    08:30 – 08:55 The AWS network on Greenland over the past 14 years. Konrad Steffen
    08:55 – 09:20 Lessons of Greenland ice sheet and tropical ice cap AWS maintenance. Jason Box
    09:20 – 09:45 Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net): Future Measurements: Eddy flux measurements under severe conditions. Niculas Cullen
    09:45 – 10:10 Measuring turbulent heat fluxes on Morteratschgletscher, Switzerland, with a sonic anemometer. Lisette Klok
    10:10 – 10:35 Coffee break
    10:35 – 11:00 Calculating and validating the surface energy balance in the katabatic wind zone of Antarctica, using single-level AWS data. Michiel van den Broeke
    11:00 – 11:25 On the performance of unaspirated, plate-shielded thermometer screens. Friedriech Obleiter
    11:25 – 11:50 Air temperature measurements in the glacier environment Regine Hock
    11:50 – 12:15 Correction of air temperature data measured by naturally ventilated sensors over snow and ice. Dieter Scherer
    12:15 LUNCH on Diavolezza
    16:45 – 17:10 Using automatic weather stations on the ice caps of Canadian High Artic islands, experiences and problems from an extreme environment. Claude Labine
    17:10 – 17:35 The use of free wave radios for telemetry of weather data from 2500 m on McCall Glacier, Arctic Alaska. Matt Nolan
    17:35 – 18:00 AWS on a penitente-covered glacier of the High Central Andes, Chile. Javier Corripio
    18:00 – 18:25 Meteorological studies on the Morteratschgletscher, Switzerland. Johannes Oerlemans

Tuesday 30

    Excursion to the IMAU weather station on the Morteratschgletscher.
    20:30 – 21:00 Evening lecture Felix Keller

Wednesday 31 March 2004

    09:00 – 09:25 Barking Spider - An Open AWS Platform. Chris Boucher
    09:25 – 09:50 Automatic snow and weather stations in the Swiss Alps. Hansueli Gubler
    09:50 – 10:15 Portable AWS running in remote high areas in the tropical Andes of Bulivia, Peru, Ecuador. Patrick Wagnon
    10:15 – 10:40 Coffee break
    10:40 – 11:05 Experiences with the new hydro-meteorological station “Vernagtbach”. Ludwig Braun
    11:05 – 11:30 Aspects of logistics and power consumption for the operation of AWS in harsh environment in Southern Patagonia. Christoph Schneider
    11:30 – 11:55 Antarctic the largest glacier of them all. Steve Culwell
    11:55 – 12:15 Conclusion J. Oerlemans



AWS on Hardangerjökulen, Norway, at the end of a very warm summer (September 2002). Photo W. Boot.

AWS on Caquella rock glacier, Bolivia (5350 m asl). Photo P. Wagnon.

AWS on Quelccaya Ice Cap, Perú (5670 m asl). Photo D. Hardy.

AWS 5 near Wasa / Aboa on Antarctica (362 m asl). Photo S. Lindström.

K&Z CNR1 radiation sensor on AWS9 near Kohnen station on Antarctica (2890 m asl). Photo M.R. van den Broeke.

Unmanned turbulence measurements on the Morteratschgletscher, Switzerland. Photo L. Klok.

Picture of the Triftgletscher in the western Swiss Alps taken by an automatic camera system. Photo H. Gubler.