Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-78
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-78

  08 Mar 2021

08 Mar 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Introduction of a Superconducting Gravimeter as Novel Hydrological Sensor for the Alpine Research Catchment Zugspitze

Christian Voigt1, Karsten Schulz2, Franziska Koch2, Karl-Friedrich Wetzel3, Ludger Timmen4, Till Rehm5, Hartmut Pflug1, Nico Stolarczuk1, Christoph Förste1, and Frank Flechtner1,6 Christian Voigt et al.
  • 1GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 1.2 Global Geomonitoring and Gravity Field, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Institute for Hydrology and Water Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria
  • 3Institute of Geography, Augsburg University, Alter Postweg 118, 86159 Augsburg, Germany
  • 4Institute of Geodesy, Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), Schneiderberg 50, 30167 Hannover, Germany
  • 5Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (UFS), Zugspitze 5, 82475 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 6Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation Science, Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 104-106, 10553 Berlin, Germany

Abstract. The Zugspitze Geodynamic Observatory Germany has been set up with a worldwide unique installation of a superconducting gravimeter at the summit of Mount Zugspitze. With regard to hydrology, this karstic high-alpine site is largely dominated by high precipitation amounts and a long seasonal snow cover period with significant importance for water supply to its forelands, while it shows a high sensitivity to climate change. However, regarding the majority of alpine regions worldwide there is only weak knowledge on temporal water storage variations due to only sparsely distributed hydrological and meteorological point sensors and the large variability and complexity of alpine signals. This underlines the importance of well-equipped areas such as Mount Zugspitze serving as natural test laboratories for an improved monitoring, understanding and prediction of alpine hydrological processes. The observatory superconducting gravimeter OSG 052 supplements the existing sensor network as a novel hydrological sensor system for the direct observation of the integral gravity effect of total water storage variations in the alpine research catchment Zugspitze. Besides the experimental setup and the available datasets, the required gravimetric prerequisites are presented such as calibration, tidal analysis and signal separation of the superconducting gravimeter observations from the first 2 years. The snowpack is identified as primary contributor to seasonal water storage variations and thus to the gravity residuals with a signal range of up to 750 nm/s2 corresponding to 1957 mm snow water equivalent measured at a representative station at the end of May 2019. First hydro-gravimetric sensitivity analysis are based on simplified assumptions of the snowpack distribution within the area around Mount Zugspitze. These reveal a snow-gravimetric footprint of up to 4 km distance around the gravimeter with a dominant gravity contribution from the snowpack in the Partnach spring catchment. This study already shows that the hydro-gravimetric approach can deliver important and representative integral insights into this high-alpine site. This work is regarded as a concept study showing preliminary gravimetric results and sensitivity analysis for upcoming long-term hydro-gravimetric research projects.

Christian Voigt et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-78', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Christian Voigt, 17 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-78', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 Apr 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Christian Voigt, 20 Apr 2021
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-78', David Crossley, 11 Apr 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Christian Voigt, 20 Apr 2021
  • AC4: 'Comment on hess-2021-78', Christian Voigt, 07 May 2021
  • EC1: 'Editor Comment on hess-2021-78', Bettina Schaefli, 26 May 2021

Christian Voigt et al.

Christian Voigt et al.

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Short summary
A continuously operating gravimeter at the summit of Mt. Zugspitze is introduced to support hydrological studies of the Research Catchment Zugspitze. The observed gravity residuals reflect total water storage variations at the observation site. Hydro-gravimetric sensitivity analysis reveal a gravimetric footprint of up to 4 km enabling important and representative integral insights into this high-alpine as a basis for upcoming long-term hydro-gravimetric research projects.