Antoine Rabatel


DOI bib
A deep learning reconstruction of mass balance series for all glaciers in the French Alps: 1967–2015
Jordi Bolíbar, Antoine Rabatel, Isabelle Gouttevin, Clovis Galiez
Earth System Science Data, Volume 12, Issue 3

Abstract. Glacier mass balance (MB) data are crucial to understanding and quantifying the regional effects of climate on glaciers and the high-mountain water cycle, yet observations cover only a small fraction of glaciers in the world. We present a dataset of annual glacier-wide mass balance of all the glaciers in the French Alps for the 1967–2015 period. This dataset has been reconstructed using deep learning (i.e. a deep artificial neural network) based on direct MB observations and remote-sensing annual estimates, meteorological reanalyses and topographical data from glacier inventories. The method's validity was assessed previously through an extensive cross-validation against a dataset of 32 glaciers, with an estimated average error (RMSE) of 0.55 mw.e.a-1, an explained variance (r2) of 75 % and an average bias of −0.021 mw.e.a-1. We estimate an average regional area-weighted glacier-wide MB of −0.69±0.21 (1σ) mw.e.a-1 for the 1967–2015 period with negative mass balances in the 1970s (−0.44 mw.e.a-1), moderately negative in the 1980s (−0.16 mw.e.a-1) and an increasing negative trend from the 1990s onwards, up to −1.26 mw.e.a-1 in the 2010s. Following a topographical and regional analysis, we estimate that the massifs with the highest mass losses for the 1967–2015 period are the Chablais (−0.93 mw.e.a-1), Champsaur (−0.86 mw.e.a-1), and Haute-Maurienne and Ubaye ranges (−0.84 mw.e.a-1 each), and the ones presenting the lowest mass losses are the Mont-Blanc (−0.68 mw.e.a-1), Oisans and Haute-Tarentaise ranges (−0.75 mw.e.a-1 each). This dataset – available at (Bolibar et al., 2020a) – provides relevant and timely data for studies in the fields of glaciology, hydrology and ecology in the French Alps in need of regional or glacier-specific annual net glacier mass changes in glacierized catchments.

DOI bib
Deep learning applied to glacier evolution modelling
Jordi Bolíbar, Antoine Rabatel, Isabelle Gouttevin, Clovis Galiez, Thomas Condom, Éric Sauquet
The Cryosphere, Volume 14, Issue 2

Abstract. We present a novel approach to simulate and reconstruct annual glacier-wide surface mass balance (SMB) series based on a deep artificial neural network (ANN; i.e. deep learning). This method has been included as the SMB component of an open-source regional glacier evolution model. While most glacier models tend to incorporate more and more physical processes, here we take an alternative approach by creating a parameterized model based on data science. Annual glacier-wide SMBs can be simulated from topo-climatic predictors using either deep learning or Lasso (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator; regularized multilinear regression), whereas the glacier geometry is updated using a glacier-specific parameterization. We compare and cross-validate our nonlinear deep learning SMB model against other standard linear statistical methods on a dataset of 32 French Alpine glaciers. Deep learning is found to outperform linear methods, with improved explained variance (up to +64 % in space and +108 % in time) and accuracy (up to +47 % in space and +58 % in time), resulting in an estimated r2 of 0.77 and a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 0.51 m w.e. Substantial nonlinear structures are captured by deep learning, with around 35 % of nonlinear behaviour in the temporal dimension. For the glacier geometry evolution, the main uncertainties come from the ice thickness data used to initialize the model. These results should encourage the use of deep learning in glacier modelling as a powerful nonlinear tool, capable of capturing the nonlinearities of the climate and glacier systems, that can serve to reconstruct or simulate SMB time series for individual glaciers in a whole region for past and future climates.


DOI bib
The European mountain cryosphere: a review of its current state, trends, and future challenges
Martin Beniston, Daniel Farinotti, Markus Stoffel, Liss M. Andreassen, Erika Coppola, Nicolas Eckert, Adriano Fantini, Florie Giacona, Christian Hauck, Matthias Huss, Hendrik Huwald, Michael Lehning, Juan I. López‐Moreno, Jan Magnusson, Christoph Marty, Enrique Morán‐Tejeda, Samuel Morin, Mohamed Naaïm, Antonello Provenzale, Antoine Rabatel, Delphine Six, Johann Stötter, Ulrich Strasser, Silvia Terzago, Christian Vincent
The Cryosphere, Volume 12, Issue 2

Abstract. The mountain cryosphere of mainland Europe is recognized to have important impacts on a range of environmental processes. In this paper, we provide an overview on the current knowledge on snow, glacier, and permafrost processes, as well as their past, current, and future evolution. We additionally provide an assessment of current cryosphere research in Europe and point to the different domains requiring further research. Emphasis is given to our understanding of climate–cryosphere interactions, cryosphere controls on physical and biological mountain systems, and related impacts. By the end of the century, Europe's mountain cryosphere will have changed to an extent that will impact the landscape, the hydrological regimes, the water resources, and the infrastructure. The impacts will not remain confined to the mountain area but also affect the downstream lowlands, entailing a wide range of socioeconomical consequences. European mountains will have a completely different visual appearance, in which low- and mid-range-altitude glaciers will have disappeared and even large valley glaciers will have experienced significant retreat and mass loss. Due to increased air temperatures and related shifts from solid to liquid precipitation, seasonal snow lines will be found at much higher altitudes, and the snow season will be much shorter than today. These changes in snow and ice melt will cause a shift in the timing of discharge maxima, as well as a transition of runoff regimes from glacial to nival and from nival to pluvial. This will entail significant impacts on the seasonality of high-altitude water availability, with consequences for water storage and management in reservoirs for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower production. Whereas an upward shift of the tree line and expansion of vegetation can be expected into current periglacial areas, the disappearance of permafrost at lower altitudes and its warming at higher elevations will likely result in mass movements and process chains beyond historical experience. Future cryospheric research has the responsibility not only to foster awareness of these expected changes and to develop targeted strategies to precisely quantify their magnitude and rate of occurrence but also to help in the development of approaches to adapt to these changes and to mitigate their consequences. Major joint efforts are required in the domain of cryospheric monitoring, which will require coordination in terms of data availability and quality. In particular, we recognize the quantification of high-altitude precipitation as a key source of uncertainty in projections of future changes. Improvements in numerical modeling and a better understanding of process chains affecting high-altitude mass movements are the two further fields that – in our view – future cryospheric research should focus on.