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Relating ocean temperatures to frontal ablation rates at Svalbard tidewater glaciers: Insights from glacier proximal datasets
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9822-826X
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
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Number of Authors: 52019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 9442Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fjord-terminating glaciers in Svalbard lose mass through submarine melt and calving (collectively: frontal ablation), and surface melt. With the recently observed Atlantification of water masses in the Barents Sea, warmer waters enter these fjords and may reach glacier fronts, where their role in accelerating frontal ablation remains insufficiently understood. Here, the impact of ocean temperatures on frontal ablation at two glaciers is assessed using time series of water temperature at depth, analysed alongside meteorological and glaciological variables. Ocean temperatures at depth are harvested at distances of 1 km from the calving fronts of the glaciers Kronebreen and Tunabreen, western Svalbard, from 2016 to 2017. We find ocean temperature at depth to control c. 50% of frontal ablation, making it the most important factor. However, its absolute importance is considerably less than found by a 2013-2014 study, where temperatures were sampled much further away from the glaciers. In light of evidence that accelerating levels of global mass loss from marine terminating glaciers are being driven by frontal ablation, our findings illustrate the importance of sampling calving front proximal water masses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 9, article id 9442
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Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-170812DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45077-3ISI: 000473294100029PubMedID: 31263126OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-170812DiVA, id: diva2:1339778
Available from: 2019-07-31 Created: 2019-07-31 Last updated: 2019-07-31Bibliographically approved

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