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The characteristics and formation of a high-arctic proglacial icing

journal contribution
posted on 21.08.2008 by Richard Hodgkins, Martyn Tranter, Julian A. Dowdeswell
Well-known from permafrost hydrology, icings (naled or Aufeis) are also frequently encountered at the margins of high-latitude glaciers. The morphology of a proglacial icing at Scott Turnerbreen in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is described, and the process of formation is considered in detail. Ground thermal-regime modelling indicates an equilibrium permafrost depth of at least 200 m in the studied catchment, and it appears unlikely that groundwater contributes to icing formation. Meltwater flow through ice-marginal drainage channels is accompanied by estimated heat fluxes of up to about 190 W m−2, suggesting that stored meltwater may continue to percolate through thawed sub-channel sediments when surface runoff is absent during winter. A hydraulic conductivity of 6.9 × 10−3 m s−1 is implied, which is consistent with other studies of glacier drainage systems. The long residence time of winter-draining meltwater, and solute rejection by refreezing water, account for high observed concentrations of solute in interstitial water in the icing. It has often been asserted that the presence of a proglacial icing indicates that a glacier is polythermal. However, as Scott Turnerbeen is entirely non-temperate, the presence of an icing cannot always be treated as a reliable guide to the thermal regime of a glacier.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Citation

HODGKINS, R., TRANTER, M and DOWDESWELL, J.A., 2004. The characteristics and formation of a high-arctic proglacial icing. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 86(3), pp.265- 275.

Publisher

Published by Blackwell Publishing on behalf of Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography.

Publication date

2004

Notes

This article is Closed Access. It was published in the journal, Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography [© 2008 Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography]. The definitive version is available at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118504788/home

ISSN

0435-3676

Language

en

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