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Analysis of the first jökulhlaup at Blåmannsisen, northern Norway, and implications for future events

  • Rune Verpe Engeset (a1), Thomas Vikhamar Schuler (a2) and Miriam Jackson (a1)

Abstract

The first known jökulhlaup from the Blåmannsisen ice cap in northern Norway began on 6 September 2001. It lasted 35 hours and emptied the lake Øvre Messingmalmvatn (∼4.0 × 107m3). Before the event, the lake drained steadily via a rock spillway into Sweden. The water from the jökulhlaup drained into the hydropower reservoir Sisovatn, and so was financially beneficial to Norway. Glaciological data show evidence of glacier retreat and thinning during the last four decades. Glacier thickness decreased in the ablation zone, reducing ice-barrier stability. The lake drained at a water level 40 m below that required to equalize the ice overburden pressure. Measurements show an ice-barrier thinning of 3.5 m since the jökulhlaup occurred. Climate scenarios indicate future negative mass balance and further thinning. The lake volume was 82% full 2.5 years after the event, suggesting a probable repeat interval of 3 years. Future jökulhlaups may be triggered at lower water levels and produce lower discharges.

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References

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