The knowledge of evaporation in the high mountain areas of the European Alps is still rather poor. It is generally regarded as a component of secondary importance in the water balance. The available mean areal evaporation data are based on conventional water balance estimations and suffer from inaccuracies in the determination of precipitation. This is also obvious from the rate of decrease in mean annual evaporation with altitude indicated by different authors; these values range from 71 mm to 356 mm pro 1,000 m of altitude. From heat balance studies on glaciers it is evident that evaporation/condensation as a process of high specific energy exchange can be a determinative factor in the shortterm variations of melt rates. The scale width of the daily latent heat fluxes reaches at magnitudes equal to or larger than those of net radiation and sensible heat flux.

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