Mountain Permafrost Hydrology

This report was prepared as one of the synthesis report chapters of the Hydro-CH2018 project of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). In earlier reports such as the CH2014-IMPACTS report (CH-Impacts 2014), the topic of mountain permafrost hydrology was not addressed. Here, we provide a baseline of the available knowledge of mountain permafrost in the Swiss Alps for future reference. We compile an overview of the current understanding of mountain permafrost in the Swiss Alps, its distribution and characteristics, observed and projected changes, and expected impacts on slope stability, infrastructure and hydrological aspects. We also briefly describe the measurement techniques and modelling approaches applied. The chapter closes with a summary of the most important open research questions. The literature cited mainly includes studies on mountain permafrost published in scientific journals and assessments of long-term observation data. We focus on permafrost hydrology interactions wherever information is available. However, systematic studies on permafrost hydrology in mountain areas are still limited.

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Issued date
July 2, 2019
Modification date
November 7, 2019
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Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
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