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Investigations of glacier surges: measurements and modelling of ice dynamics in svalbard, european arctic

Objective

To investigate and model the dynamics of a surging glacier in
the sub-polar setting of Svalbard, European Arctic. To test
the generality of findings from this glacier by the examination
of key parameters on several additional surging glaciers in
Svalbard, and to place the behaviour of surge-type glaciers in
Svalbard within the context of climate change over the past 200
years, and to predict their response to future global warming.


The time-dependent behaviour
of a surge-type glacier on Svalbard will be investigated using a
number of field measurements.

Ice thickness
and surface slope will be measured through radio-echo sounding
and ground survey methods. The glacier hydrological system
will be studied using melt steam water quality and borehole water pressure
measurements. Automated survey methods will be used to measure
velocity structure. The
nature of the ice-bed interface will be studied through borehole
drilling and the insertion of viscosity and drag sensors.

Stake measurements and measurements of the radioactive signal in
ice cores will be used to establish the glacier mass
balance. The
glacier thermal structure will be measured by thermistor
strings and with a multi--frequency radar system.

A subset of these
measurements (e.g. surface morphology, velocity and mass balance)
will take place at additional surge-type glaciers to test the
generality of the findings.

Modelling of ice build-up to surges will use field data as
boundary conditions. The surge process will be viewed in context
of climate change over the past 200 years and future
anthropogenic warming. Changes in the climate system in this
highly sensitive region, at the northern limit of the warm North
Atlantic Drift, are a significant control on the rate of ice
build-up between surges. Shifts in mass balance in Svalbard will
be measured from ice cores using radioactive, chemical and
isotopic methods.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University of Cambridge
Address
Lensfield Road
CB2 1ER Cambridge
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
Address
Rue Molière 54, Université De Grenoble 1
38402 Saint-martin-d'heres
David Orton Associates
United Kingdom
Address
380 Bennett Street
NG10 4JF Long Eaton
NORWEGIAN POLAR INSTITUTE OF THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT
Norway
Address
Hjalmar Johansens G. 14
9296 Tromsoe
Université de Paris VI (Université Pierre et Marie Curie)
France
Address
4 Place Jussieu
75252 Paris