Articles | Volume 15, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 15, 265–282, 2021
The Cryosphere, 15, 265–282, 2021

Research article 19 Jan 2021

Research article | 19 Jan 2021

Debris cover and the thinning of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska: in situ measurements, automated ice cliff delineation and distributed melt estimates

Leif S. Anderson et al.

Data sets

Measurements and datasets from the debris-covered tongue of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska (Version 1.0.0) Leif S. Anderson, William H. Armstrong, Robert S. Anderson, and Pascal Buri

Short summary
Many glaciers are thinning rapidly beneath debris cover (loose rock) that reduces melt, including Kennicott Glacier in Alaska. This contradiction has been explained by melt hotspots, such as ice cliffs, scattered within the debris cover. However, at Kennicott Glacier declining ice flow explains the rapid thinning. Through this study, Kennicott Glacier is now the first glacier in Alaska, and the largest glacier globally, where melt across its debris-covered tongue has been rigorously quantified.