06 Jan 2022
06 Jan 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Topology and pressure distribution reconstruction of an englacial channel

Laura Piho1,, Andreas Alexander2,, and Maarja Kruusmaa1,3 Laura Piho et al.
  • 1Centre for Biorobotics, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 3Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Glacier hydrology describes water movement over, through and under glaciers and ice sheets. Water reaching the ice bed influences ice motion and ice dynamical models, therefore requiring a good understanding of glacier hydrology, particularly water pressures and pathways. However, as in situ observations are sparse and methods for direct observations of water pathways and internal pressures are lacking, our understanding of the aforementioned pathways and pressure remains limited. Here, we present a method that allows the reconstruction of planar subsurface water flow paths and spatially reference water pressures. We showcase this method by reconstructing the 2D topology and the water pressure distribution of an englacial channel in Austre Brøggerbreen (Svalbard). The approach uses inertial measurements from submersible sensing drifters and reconstructs the flow path between given start and end coordinates. Validation on a supraglacial channel shows an average length error of 3.9 m (5.3 %). At the englacial channel, the average length error is 107 m (11.6 %) and the average pressure error 3.4 hPa (0.3 %). Our method allows mapping sub- and englacial flow paths and the pressure distribution within, thereby facilitating hydrological model validation. Further, our method also allows the reconstruction of other, previously unexplored, subsurface fluid flow paths.

Laura Piho et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-377', Ugo Nanni, 03 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Andreas Alexander, 03 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-377', Elizabeth Bagshaw, 03 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Andreas Alexander, 03 Apr 2022

Laura Piho et al.

Laura Piho et al.


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Short summary
In this study we develop a novel method to map subsurface water flow paths and spatially reference in situ data from such environments. We demonstrate the feasibility of our method with the reconstruction of the flow path of an englacial channel and the water pressures therein. Our method opens up for direct mapping of subsurface water flow paths, not only in glacier hydrology, but also in other applications (e.g. karst caves, pipelines, sewer systems).