Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

2011 Edition
| Editors: Vijay P. Singh, Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya


  • Rijan B. KayasthaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_3


An ablatometer is an instrument used for measuring the rate of surface ablation of exposed ice or snow. The sensing element may be a potentiometer linked to a movable metal tube, supported between two poles that are drilled at least 2 m into the surface to minimize subsidence of the supports, as in the Lewkowicz (1985) ablatometer. The sensing tube has a foot constructed of wood for ice and plastic for snow, which rest on the surface, thus following it down as ablation occurs. The ablatometer operates by converting an extension of the slide into a change in the electrical resistance of the potentiometer. The later is wired into a micro-logger for continuous recording of ablation.

The star ablatometer, as explained by Muller and Keeler (1969), consists of a 1 m long six-arm metal star mounted on a stake. Thirty-six points are measured by the lowering of a thin rod through the six sleeved holes in each arm. The rod contacts a variety of surface points, including both peaks...

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  1. Lewkowicz, A. G., 1985. Use of an ablatometer to measure short-term ablation of exposed ground ice. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 22, 1767–1773.Google Scholar
  2. Muller, F., and Keeler, C. M., 1969. Errors in short-term ablation measurements on melting ice surfaces. Journal of Glaciology, 8(52), 91–105.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC)Kathmandu UniversityDhulikhelNepal