Articles | Volume 15, issue 7
Research article 15 Jul 2021
Research article | 15 Jul 2021
Gulf of Alaska ice-marginal lake area change over the Landsat record and potential physical controls
Hannah R. Field et al.
No articles found.
Loris Compagno, Matthias Huss, Evan Stewart Miles, Michael James McCarthy, Harry Zekollari, Francesca Pellicciotti, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint under review for TCShort summary
We present a new approach for modelling debris area and thickness evolution. We implement the module into a combined mass-balance ice-flow model, and we apply it using different climate scenarios to project the future evolution of all glaciers in High Mountain Asia. We show that glacier geometry, volume and flow velocity evolve differently when modelling explicitly debris cover compared to glacier evolution without the debris-cover module, showing the importance of accounting for debris cover.
Loris Compagno, Sarah Eggs, Matthias Huss, Harry Zekollari, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere, 15, 2593–2599,Short summary
Recently, discussions have focused on the difference in limiting the increase in global average temperatures to below 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 °C compared to preindustrial levels. Here, we assess the impacts that such different scenarios would have on both the future evolution of glaciers in the European Alps and the water resources they provide. Our results show that the different temperature targets have important implications for the changes predicted until 2100.
Christophe Ogier, Mauro A. Werder, Matthias Huss, Isabelle Kull, David Hodel, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for TCShort summary
Glacier-dammed lakes are prone to drain rapidly when the ice dam breaks, and constitute a serious threat for populations downstream. Such a lake drainage can proceed through an open-air channel at the glacier surface. In this study, we present what we believe to be the most complete data set to date of an ice-dammed lake drainage through such an open-air channel. We provide new insights for future glacier-dammed lakes drainage modelling studies and hazard assessments.
Brianna Rick, Daniel McGrath, William Armstrong, and Scott W. McCoy
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint under review for TCShort summary
Glacial lakes impact societies as both resources and hazards. Lakes form, grow, and drain as glaciers thin and retreat, and understanding lake evolution is a critical first step in assessing their hazard potential. We map glacial lakes in Alaska between 1984 and 2019. Overall, lakes grew in number and area, though lakes with different damming material (ice, moraine, bedrock) behaved differently. Namely, ice-dammed lakes decreased in number and area, a trend lost if dam type is not considered.
Rebecca Gugerli, Matteo Guidicelli, Marco Gabella, Matthias Huss, and Nadine Salzmann
Adv. Sci. Res., 18, 7–20,Short summary
To obtain reliable snowfall estimates in high mountain remains a challenge. This study uses daily snow water equivalent (SWE) estimates by a cosmic ray sensor on two Swiss glaciers to assess three readily-available high-quality precipitation products. We find a large bias between in situ SWE and snowfall, which differs among the precipitation products, the two sites, the winter seasons and in situ meteorological conditions. All products have great potential for various applications in the Alps.
Leif S. Anderson, William H. Armstrong, Robert S. Anderson, and Pascal Buri
The Cryosphere, 15, 265–282,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.
Johannes M. Landmann, Hans R. Künsch, Matthias Huss, Christophe Ogier, Markus Kalisch, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for TCShort summary
In this study, we (1) acquire real-time information on point glacier mass balance with autonomous cameras and (2) assimilate these observations into a mass balance model ensemble driven by meteorological input. For doing so, we use a customized particle filter that we designed for the specific purposes of our study. We find melt rates of up to 0.12 m water equivalent per day, and show that our assimilation method has a higher performance than reference mass balance models.
Álvaro Ayala, David Farías-Barahona, Matthias Huss, Francesca Pellicciotti, James McPhee, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere, 14, 2005–2027,Short summary
We reconstruct past glacier changes (1955–2016) and estimate the committed ice loss in the Maipo River basin (semi-arid Andes of Chile), with a focus on glacier runoff. We found that glacier volume has decreased by one-fifth since 1955 and that glacier runoff shows a sequence of decreasing maxima starting in a severe drought in 1968. As meltwater originating from the Andes plays a key role in this dry region, our results can be useful for developing adaptation or mitigation strategies.
Michael Zemp, Matthias Huss, Nicolas Eckert, Emmanuel Thibert, Frank Paul, Samuel U. Nussbaumer, and Isabelle Gärtner-Roer
The Cryosphere, 14, 1043–1050,Short summary
Comprehensive assessments of global glacier mass changes have been published at multi-annual intervals, typically in IPCC reports. For the years in between, we present an approach to infer timely but preliminary estimates of global-scale glacier mass changes from glaciological observations. These ad hoc estimates for 2017/18 indicate that annual glacier contributions to sea-level rise exceeded 1 mm sea-level equivalent, which corresponds to more than a quarter of the currently observed rise.
Rebecca Gugerli, Nadine Salzmann, Matthias Huss, and Darin Desilets
The Cryosphere, 13, 3413–3434,Short summary
The snow water equivalent (SWE) in high mountain regions is crucial for many applications. Yet its quantification remains difficult. We present autonomous daily SWE observations by a cosmic ray sensor (CRS) deployed on a Swiss glacier for two winter seasons. Combined with snow depth observations, we derive the daily bulk snow density. The validation with manual field observations and its measurement reliability show that the CRS is a promising device for high alpine cryospheric environments.
Manuela I. Brunner, Daniel Farinotti, Harry Zekollari, Matthias Huss, and Massimiliano Zappa
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 23, 4471–4489,Short summary
River flow regimes are expected to change and so are extreme flow regimes. We propose two methods for estimating extreme flow regimes and show on a data set from Switzerland how these extreme regimes are expected to change. Our results show that changes in low- and high-flow regimes are distinct for rainfall- and melt-dominated regions. Our findings provide guidance in water resource planning and management.
Leif S. Anderson, William H. Armstrong, Robert S. Anderson, and Pascal Buri
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint withdrawnShort summary
Thick rock cover (or debris) disturbs the melt of many Alaskan glaciers. Yet the effect of debris on glacier thinning in Alaska has been overlooked. In three companion papers we assess the role of debris and ice flow on the thinning of Kennicott Glacier. In Part C we describe feedbacks contributing to rapid thinning under thick debris. Changes in debris thickness downglacier on Kennicott Glacier are manifested in the pattern of glacier thinning, ice dynamics, melt, and glacier surface features.
Leif S. Anderson, Robert S. Anderson, Pascal Buri, and William H. Armstrong
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint withdrawnShort summary
Thick rock cover (or debris) disturbs the melt of many Alaskan glaciers. Yet the effect of debris on glacier thinning in Alaska has been overlooked. In three companion papers we assess the role of debris and ice flow on the thinning of Kennicott Glacier. In Part A, we report measurements from the glacier surface. We measured surface debris thickness, melt under debris, and the rate of ice cliff backwasting. These data allow for further studies linking debris to glacier shrinkage in Alaska.
Harry Zekollari, Matthias Huss, and Daniel Farinotti
The Cryosphere, 13, 1125–1146,Short summary
Glaciers in the European Alps play an important role in the hydrological cycle, act as a source for hydroelectricity and have a large touristic importance. We model the future evolution of all glaciers in the Alps with a novel model that combines both ice flow and melt processes. We find that under a limited warming scenario about one-third of the present-day ice volume will still be present by the end of the century, while under strong warming more than 90 % of the volume will be lost by 2100.
Kathrin Naegeli, Matthias Huss, and Martin Hoelzle
The Cryosphere, 13, 397–412,Short summary
The paper investigates the temporal changes of bare-ice glacier surface albedo in the Swiss Alps between 1999 and 2016 from a regional to local scale using satellite data. Significant negative trends were found in the lowermost elevations and margins of the ablation zones. Although significant changes of glacier ice albedo are only present over a limited area, we emphasize that albedo feedback will considerably enhance the rate of glacier mass loss in the Swiss Alps in the near future.
Sarah Shannon, Robin Smith, Andy Wiltshire, Tony Payne, Matthias Huss, Richard Betts, John Caesar, Aris Koutroulis, Darren Jones, and Stephan Harrison
The Cryosphere, 13, 325–350,Short summary
We present global glacier volume projections for the end of this century, under a range of high-end climate change scenarios, defined as exceeding 2 °C global average warming. The ice loss contribution to sea level rise for all glaciers excluding those on the peripheral of the Antarctic ice sheet is 215.2 ± 21.3 mm. Such large ice losses will have consequences for sea level rise and for water supply in glacier-fed river systems.
Julien Seguinot, Susan Ivy-Ochs, Guillaume Jouvet, Matthias Huss, Martin Funk, and Frank Preusser
The Cryosphere, 12, 3265–3285,Short summary
About 25 000 years ago, Alpine glaciers filled most of the valleys and even extended onto the plains. In this study, with help from traces left by glaciers on the landscape, we use a computer model that contains knowledge of glacier physics based on modern observations of Greenland and Antarctica and laboratory experiments on ice, and one of the fastest computers in the world, to attempt a reconstruction of the evolution of Alpine glaciers through time from 120 000 years ago to today.
Martina Barandun, Matthias Huss, Ryskul Usubaliev, Erlan Azisov, Etienne Berthier, Andreas Kääb, Tobias Bolch, and Martin Hoelzle
The Cryosphere, 12, 1899–1919,Short summary
In this study, we used three independent methods (in situ measurements, comparison of digital elevation models and modelling) to reconstruct the mass change from 2000 to 2016 for three glaciers in the Tien Shan and Pamir. Snow lines observed on remote sensing images were used to improve conventional modelling by constraining a mass balance model. As a result, glacier mass changes for unmeasured years and glaciers can be better assessed. Substantial mass loss was confirmed for the three glaciers.
Martin Beniston, Daniel Farinotti, Markus Stoffel, Liss M. Andreassen, Erika Coppola, Nicolas Eckert, Adriano Fantini, Florie Giacona, Christian Hauck, Matthias Huss, Hendrik Huwald, Michael Lehning, Juan-Ignacio López-Moreno, Jan Magnusson, Christoph Marty, Enrique Morán-Tejéda, Samuel Morin, Mohamed Naaim, Antonello Provenzale, Antoine Rabatel, Delphine Six, Johann Stötter, Ulrich Strasser, Silvia Terzago, and Christian Vincent
The Cryosphere, 12, 759–794,Short summary
This paper makes a rather exhaustive overview of current knowledge of past, current, and future aspects of cryospheric issues in continental Europe and makes a number of reflections of areas of uncertainty requiring more attention in both scientific and policy terms. The review paper is completed by a bibliography containing 350 recent references that will certainly be of value to scholars engaged in the fields of glacier, snow, and permafrost research.
Nadine Feiger, Matthias Huss, Silvan Leinss, Leo Sold, and Daniel Farinotti
Geogr. Helv., 73, 1–9,Short summary
This contribution presents two updated bedrock topographies and ice thickness distributions with a new uncertainty assessment for Gries- and Findelengletscher, Switzerland. The results are based on ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements and the
ice thickness estimation method (ITEM). The results show a total glacier volume of 0.28 ± 0.06 and 1.00 ± 0.34 km3 for Gries- and Findelengletscher, respectively, with corresponding average ice thicknesses of 56.8 ± 12.7 and 56.3 ± 19.6 m.
Martin Hoelzle, Erlan Azisov, Martina Barandun, Matthias Huss, Daniel Farinotti, Abror Gafurov, Wilfried Hagg, Ruslan Kenzhebaev, Marlene Kronenberg, Horst Machguth, Alexandr Merkushkin, Bolot Moldobekov, Maxim Petrov, Tomas Saks, Nadine Salzmann, Tilo Schöne, Yuri Tarasov, Ryskul Usubaliev, Sergiy Vorogushyn, Andrey Yakovlev, and Michael Zemp
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 6, 397–418,
Daniel Farinotti, Douglas J. Brinkerhoff, Garry K. C. Clarke, Johannes J. Fürst, Holger Frey, Prateek Gantayat, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet, Claire Girard, Matthias Huss, Paul W. Leclercq, Andreas Linsbauer, Horst Machguth, Carlos Martin, Fabien Maussion, Mathieu Morlighem, Cyrille Mosbeux, Ankur Pandit, Andrea Portmann, Antoine Rabatel, RAAJ Ramsankaran, Thomas J. Reerink, Olivier Sanchez, Peter A. Stentoft, Sangita Singh Kumari, Ward J. J. van Pelt, Brian Anderson, Toby Benham, Daniel Binder, Julian A. Dowdeswell, Andrea Fischer, Kay Helfricht, Stanislav Kutuzov, Ivan Lavrentiev, Robert McNabb, G. Hilmar Gudmundsson, Huilin Li, and Liss M. Andreassen
The Cryosphere, 11, 949–970,Short summary
ITMIX – the Ice Thickness Models Intercomparison eXperiment – was the first coordinated performance assessment for models inferring glacier ice thickness from surface characteristics. Considering 17 different models and 21 different test cases, we show that although solutions of individual models can differ considerably, an ensemble average can yield uncertainties in the order of 10 ± 24 % the mean ice thickness. Ways forward for improving such estimates are sketched.
Vanessa Round, Silvan Leinss, Matthias Huss, Christoph Haemmig, and Irena Hajnsek
The Cryosphere, 11, 723–739,Short summary
Recent surging of Kyagar Glacier (Karakoram) caused a hazardous ice-dammed lake to form and burst in 2015 and 2016. We use remotely sensed glacier surface velocities and surface elevation to observe dramatic changes in speed and mass distribution during the surge. The surge was hydrologically controlled with rapid summer onset and dramatic termination following lake outburst. Since the surge, the potential outburst hazard has remained high, and continued remote monitoring is crucial.
Mauro Fischer, Matthias Huss, Mario Kummert, and Martin Hoelzle
The Cryosphere, 10, 1279–1295,Short summary
This study provides the first thorough validation of geodetic glacier mass changes derived from close-range high-resolution remote sensing techniques, and highlights the potential of terrestrial laser scanning for repeated mass balance monitoring of very small alpine glaciers. The presented methodology is promising, as laborious and potentially dangerous in situ measurements as well as the spatial inter- and extrapolation of point measurements over the entire glacier can be circumvented.
James S. Douglas, Matthias Huss, Darrel A. Swift, Julie M. Jones, and Franco Salerno
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript has not been submittedShort summary
Glacier behaviour in high-mountain Asia is different from other regions due to debris cover and ice stagnation. This study incorporates these factors into a glacio-hydrological model for the first time at the Khumbu Glacier, Nepal. We show that including debris provides a more realistic representation of the Khumbu Glacier than in previous runoff models, and that changes to the debris surface significantly influence glacier and runoff evolution, with impacts on downstream water resources.
J. Gabbi, M. Huss, A. Bauder, F. Cao, and M. Schwikowski
The Cryosphere, 9, 1385–1400,Short summary
Light-absorbing impurities in snow and ice increase the absorption of solar radiation and thus enhance melting. We investigated the effect of Saharan dust and black carbon on the mass balance of an Alpine glacier over 1914-2014. Snow impurities increased melt by 15-19% depending on the location on the glacier. From the accumulation area towards the equilibrium line, the effect of impurities increased as more frequent years with negative mass balance led to a re-exposure of dust-enriched layers.
L. Sold, M. Huss, A. Eichler, M. Schwikowski, and M. Hoelzle
The Cryosphere, 9, 1075–1087,Short summary
This study presents a method for estimating annual accumulation rates on a temperate Alpine glacier based on the interpretation of internal reflection horizons in helicopter-borne ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data. In combination with a simple model for firn densification and refreezing of meltwater, GPR can be used not only to complement existing mass balance monitoring programmes but also to retrospectively extend newly initiated time series.
M. Fischer, M. Huss, and M. Hoelzle
The Cryosphere, 9, 525–540,
H. Frey, H. Machguth, M. Huss, C. Huggel, S. Bajracharya, T. Bolch, A. Kulkarni, A. Linsbauer, N. Salzmann, and M. Stoffel
The Cryosphere, 8, 2313–2333,Short summary
Existing methods (area–volume relations, a slope-dependent volume estimation method, and two ice-thickness distribution models) are used to estimate the ice reserves stored in Himalayan–Karakoram glaciers. Resulting volumes range from 2955–4737km³. Results from the ice-thickness distribution models agree well with local measurements; volume estimates from area-related relations exceed the estimates from the other approaches. Evidence on the effect of the selected method on results is provided.
H. Machguth and M. Huss
The Cryosphere, 8, 1741–1755,
M. Huss and D. Farinotti
The Cryosphere, 8, 1261–1273,
M. Huss, A. Voinesco, and M. Hoelzle
Geogr. Helv., 68, 227–237,
D. Farinotti and M. Huss
The Cryosphere, 7, 1707–1720,
D. Finger, A. Hugentobler, M. Huss, A. Voinesco, H. Wernli, D. Fischer, E. Weber, P.-Y. Jeannin, M. Kauzlaric, A. Wirz, T. Vennemann, F. Hüsler, B. Schädler, and R. Weingartner
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 3261–3277,
M. Zemp, E. Thibert, M. Huss, D. Stumm, C. Rolstad Denby, C. Nuth, S. U. Nussbaumer, G. Moholdt, A. Mercer, C. Mayer, P. C. Joerg, P. Jansson, B. Hynek, A. Fischer, H. Escher-Vetter, H. Elvehøy, and L. M. Andreassen
The Cryosphere, 7, 1227–1245,
The Cryosphere, 7, 877–887,
Related subject area
Discipline: Glaciers | Subject: Glacier HydrologyDevelopment of a subglacial lake monitored with radio-echo sounding: case study from the eastern Skaftá cauldron in the Vatnajökull ice cap, IcelandGeophysical constraints on the properties of a subglacial lake in northwest GreenlandSensitivity of subglacial drainage to water supply distribution at the Kongsfjord basin, SvalbardBuoyant calving and ice-contact lake evolution at Pasterze Glacier (Austria) in the period 1998–2019An analysis of instabilities and limit cycles in glacier-dammed reservoirsCoupled modelling of subglacial hydrology and calving-front melting at Store Glacier, West GreenlandChannelized, distributed, and disconnected: subglacial drainage under a valley glacier in the Yukon
Eyjólfur Magnússon, Finnur Pálsson, Magnús T. Gudmundsson, Thórdís Högnadóttir, Cristian Rossi, Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson, Benedikt G. Ófeigsson, Erik Sturkell, and Tómas Jóhannesson
The Cryosphere, 15, 3731–3749,Short summary
We present a unique insight into the shape and development of a subglacial lake over a 7-year period, using repeated radar survey. The lake collects geothermal meltwater, which is released in semi-regular floods, often referred to as jökulhlaups. The applicability of our survey approach to monitor the water stored in the lake for a better assessment of the potential hazard of jökulhlaups is demonstrated by comparison with independent measurements of released water volume during two jökulhlaups.
Ross Maguire, Nicholas Schmerr, Erin Pettit, Kiya Riverman, Christyna Gardner, Daniella N. DellaGiustina, Brad Avenson, Natalie Wagner, Angela G. Marusiak, Namrah Habib, Juliette I. Broadbeck, Veronica J. Bray, and Samuel H. Bailey
The Cryosphere, 15, 3279–3291,Short summary
In the last decade, airborne radar surveys have revealed the presence of lakes below the Greenland ice sheet. However, little is known about their properties, including their depth and the volume of water they store. We performed a ground-based geophysics survey in northwestern Greenland and, for the first time, were able to image the depth of a subglacial lake and estimate its volume. Our findings have implications for the thermal state and stability of the ice sheet in northwest Greenland.
Chloé Scholzen, Thomas V. Schuler, and Adrien Gilbert
The Cryosphere, 15, 2719–2738,Short summary
We use a two-dimensional model of water flow below the glaciers in Kongsfjord, Svalbard, to investigate how different processes of surface-to-bed meltwater transfer affect subglacial hydraulic conditions. The latter are important for the sliding motion of glaciers, which in some cases exhibit huge variations. Our findings indicate that the glaciers in our study area undergo substantial sliding because water is poorly evacuated from their base, with limited influence from the surface hydrology.
Andreas Kellerer-Pirklbauer, Michael Avian, Douglas I. Benn, Felix Bernsteiner, Philipp Krisch, and Christian Ziesler
The Cryosphere, 15, 1237–1258,Short summary
Present climate warming leads to glacier recession and formation of lakes. We studied the nature and rate of lake evolution in the period 1998–2019 at Pasterze Glacier, Austria. We detected for instance several large-scale and rapidly occurring ice-breakup events from below the water level. This process, previously not reported from the European Alps, might play an important role at alpine glaciers in the future as many glaciers are expected to recede into valley basins allowing lake formation.
The Cryosphere, 14, 3175–3194,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.
Samuel J. Cook, Poul Christoffersen, Joe Todd, Donald Slater, and Nolwenn Chauché
The Cryosphere, 14, 905–924,Short summary
This paper models how water flows beneath a large Greenlandic glacier and how the structure of the drainage system it flows in changes over time. We also look at how this affects melting driven by freshwater plumes at the glacier front, as well as the implications for glacier flow and sea-level rise. We find an active drainage system and plumes exist year round, contradicting previous assumptions and suggesting more melting may not slow the glacier down, unlike at other sites in Greenland.
Camilo Rada and Christian Schoof
The Cryosphere, 12, 2609–2636,Short summary
We analyse a large glacier borehole pressure dataset and provide a holistic view of the observations, suggesting a consistent picture of the evolution of the subglacial drainage system. Some aspects are consistent with the established understanding and others ones are not. We propose that most of the inconsistencies arise from the capacity of some areas of the bed to become hydraulically isolated. We present an adaptation of an existing drainage model that incorporates this phenomena.
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The growth of a glacier lake alters the hydrology, ecology, and glaciology of its surrounding region. We investigate modern glacier lake area change across northwestern North America using repeat satellite imagery. Broadly, we find that lakes downstream from glaciers grew, while lakes dammed by glaciers shrunk. Our results suggest that the shape of the landscape surrounding a glacier lake plays a larger role in determining how quickly a lake changes than climatic or glaciologic factors.
The growth of a glacier lake alters the hydrology, ecology, and glaciology of its surrounding...