Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
The Cryosphere, 14, 3175–3194, 2020
The Cryosphere, 14, 3175–3194, 2020
Research article
18 Sep 2020
Research article | 18 Sep 2020

An analysis of instabilities and limit cycles in glacier-dammed reservoirs

Christian Schoof

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Cited articles

Anderson, S., Walder, J., Anderson, R., Kraal, E., Cunico, M., Fountain, A., and Trabant, D.: Integrated hydrologic and hydrochemical observations of Hidden Creek Lake jökulhlaups, Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 6003,, 2003. a
Bigelow, D., Flowers, G., Schoof, C., Mingo, L., Young, E., and Connal, B.: The role of englacial hydrology in the filling and drainage of an ice‐dammed lake, Kaskawulsh Glacier, Yukon, Canada, J. Geophys. Res., 125, e2019JF005110,, 2020. a
Björnsson, H.: Jökulhlaups in Iceland: prediction, characteristics and simulation, Ann. Glaciol., 16, 95–106, 1988. a, b
Clague, J., Huggel, C., Korup, O., and McGuire, B.: Climate change and hazardous processes in high mountains, Revista de la Asociación Geológica Argentina, 69, 328–338, 2012. a
Clarke, G.: Glacier outburst floods from “Hazard Lake”, Yukon Territory, and the problem of flood magnitude prediction, J. Glaciol., 28, 3–21, 1982. a
Short summary
Glacier lake outburst floods are major glacial hazards in which ice-dammed reservoirs rapidly drain, often in a recurring fashion. The main flood phase typically involves a growing channel being eroded into ice by water flow. What is poorly understood is how that channel first comes into being. In this paper, I investigate how an under-ice drainage system composed of small, naturally occurring voids can turn into a channel and how this can explain the cyclical behaviour of outburst floods.