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Modelling the long-term mass balance and firn evolution of glaciers around Kongsfjorden, Svalbard
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Fram Ctr, NPI, Tromso, Norway..
2015 (English)In: Journal of Glaciology, ISSN 0022-1430, E-ISSN 1727-5652, Vol. 61, no 228, 731-744 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We analyse the long-term (1961-2012) distributed surface mass balance and firn evolution of the Kongsvegen and Holtedahlfonna glacier systems in northwestern Svalbard. We couple a surface energy-balance model to a firn model, with forcing provided from regional climate model output. In situ observational data are used to calibrate model parameters and validate the output. The simulated area-averaged surface mass balance for 1961-2012 is slightly positive (0.08 m w.e. a(-1)), which only fractionally compensates for mass loss by calving. Refreezing of percolating water in spring/summer (0.13 m w.e. a(-1)) and stored water in fall/winter (0.18 m w.e. a(-1)) provides a buffer for runoff. Internal accumulation, i.e. refreezing below the previous year's summer surface in the accumulation zone, peaks up to 0.22 m w.e. a(-1), and is unaccounted for by stake observations. Superimposed ice formation in the lower accumulation zone ranges as high as 0.25 m w.e. a(-1). A comparison of the periods 1961-99 and 2000-12 reveals 21% higher annual melt rates since 2000 and a 31% increase in runoff, which can only in part be ascribed to recent warmer and drier conditions. In response to firn line retreat, both albedo lowering (snow/ice-albedo feedback) and lower refreezing rates (refreezing feedback) further amplified runoff.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 61, no 228, 731-744 p.
Keyword [en]
energy balance, glacier modelling, snow physics, surface mass budget
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267087DOI: 10.3189/2015JoG14J223ISI: 000363002200010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-267087DiVA: diva2:872843
Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-17 Last updated: 2016-10-17

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