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Investigating spatial and temporal variations in sliding of a tidewater glacier

Written by Thomas Zwinger.

The variability – temporal as well as spatial - in basal friction for Kronebreen, Svalbard, a fast-flowing tidewater glacier is evaluated. This is done by inverting surface velocity data over a period of 3 years (2013–15). Due to the excellent data coverage, this is achieved at a high temporal resolution of about 11 days.  Results clearly show that sliding behaviour of Kronebreen seasonally is strongly influenced by changes in water input patterns as well as a strong inter-annual variability. Results lead to the conclusion that a physical description of the sliding of a tidewater glacier needs to exceed the complexity of a simple fixed parameter description. Basal sliding may not only be governed by local processes such as basal topography or summer melt, but also be mediated by factors that vary over a larger distance and over a longer time period such as subglacial hydrology organisation, ice-thickness changes or changes in calving front geometry.

Kronebreen sliding

Read more: Vallot, D., R. Pettersson, A. Luckman, D. Benn, T. Zwinger, W.J.J. van Pelt, J. Kohler, M. Schäfer, B. Claremar and N.R.J. Hulton, 2017. Basal dynamics of Kronebreen, a fast-flowing tidewater glacier in Svalbard: Non-local spatio-temporal response to water input, Journal of Glaciology, 1-13, doi:doi:10.1017/jog.2017.69.

 

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