QUANTIFYING UNCERTAINTY IN USING MULTIPLE DATASETS TO DETERMINE SPATIOTEMPORAL ICE MASS LOSS OVER 101 YEARS AT KÅRSAGLACIÄREN, SUB-ARCTIC SWEDEN

Chris Williams, Jonathan Carrivick, Andrew Evans, David Rippin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Glacier mass balance and mass balance gradient are fundamentally affected by changes in glacier 3D geometry. Few studies have quantified changing mountain glacier 3D geometry, not least because of a dearth of suitable spatiotemporally distributed topographical information. Additionally, there can be significant uncertainty in georeferencing of historical data and subsequent calculations of the difference between successive surveys. This study presents multiple 3D glacier reconstructions and the associated mass balance response of Kårsaglaciären, which is a 0.89 ± 0.01 km2 mountain glacier in sub-arctic Sweden. Reconstructions spanning 101 years were enabled by historical map digitisation and contemporary elevation and thickness surveys. By considering displacements between digitised maps via the identification of common tie-points, uncertainty in both vertical and horizontal planes were estimated. Results demonstrate a long-term trend of negative mass balance with an increase in mean elevation, total glacier retreat (1909–2008) of 1311 ± 12 m, and for the period 1926–2010 a volume decrease of 1.0 ± 0.3 × 10–3 km3 yr–1. Synthesising measurements of the glaciers’ past 3D geometry and ice thickness with theoretically calculated basal stress profiles explains the present thermal regime. The glacier is identified as being disproportionately fast in its rate of mass loss and relative to area, is the fastest retreating glacier in Sweden. Our long-term dataset of glacier 3D geometry changes will be useful for testing models of the evolution of glacier characteristics and behaviour, and ultimately for improving predictions of meltwater production with climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalGeografiska Annaler - Series A Physical Geography
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • mountain glacier
  • mass balance
  • glacier reconstruction
  • glacier geometry

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