31 Aug 2022
31 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Modelled 3D calving at Kronebreen, Svalbard, driven by tidal fluctuations and frontal melt

Felicity Alice Holmes1, Eef van Dongen2, Riko Noormets3, Michał Pętlicki4, and Nina Kirchner1 Felicity Alice Holmes et al.
  • 1Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • 2Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • 3Department of Arctic Geology, University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
  • 4Faculty of Geography and Geology, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Cracow, Poland

Abstract. Understanding calving processes and their controls is of importance for reducing uncertainty in sea level rise estimates. The impact of tidal fluctuations and frontal melt on calving patterns has been researched through both modelling and observational studies, but remain uncertain and may vary from glacier to glacier. In this study, we isolate various different impacts of tidal fluctuations on a glacier terminus to understand their influence on calving dynamics at Kronebreen, Svalbard, for the duration of one month. In addition, we impose frontal melt onto the calving front in order to allow for an undercut to develop over the course of the simulations. We find that calving events show a tidal signal when there is a small or no undercut but, after a critical point, undercut driven calving becomes dominant and drowns out the tidal signal. However, the relationship is complex and large calving events show a tidal signal even with a large modelled undercut. The modelled undercut sizes are then compared to observational profiles, showing that undercuts of up to c. 25 m are plausible. These findings highlight the complex interactions occurring at the calving front of Kronebreen and suggest further observational data and modelling work is needed to fully understand the hierarchy of controls on calving.

Felicity Alice Holmes et al.

Status: open (until 26 Oct 2022)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-152', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Sep 2022 reply

Felicity Alice Holmes et al.

Data sets

Subaerial and submarine frontal morphology of Kronebreen, Svalbard, 24 August 2016 Riko Noormets, Michał Pętlicki, Nina Kirchner

Felicity Alice Holmes et al.


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Short summary
Glaciers which end in bodies of water can lose mass through melting below the waterline, as well as by the breaking off of icebergs. We use a numerical model to simulate the breaking off of icebergs at Kronebreen, a glacier in Svalbard, and find that both melting below the waterline and tides are important for iceberg production. In addition, we compare the modelled glacier front to observations and show that melting below the waterline can lead to undercuts of up to around 25 m.