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Glacier thermal regime and suspended-sediment yield: a comparison of two high-Arctic glaciers

  • A. J. Hodson (a1), M. Tranter (a2), J. A. Dowdeswell (a3), A. M. Gurnell (a4) and J. O. Hagen (a5)...

Abstract

This paper compares estimates of suspended-sediment yield and discharge from two glacier basins in Svalhard exhibiting contrasting glacial thermal regimes: Austre Brøggerbreen (~12 km2), which is almost entirely cold-based, and Finsterwalderbreen (~44 km2), dominated by warm basal ice. There are marked differences in the magnitude and temporal pattern of mean daily discharge and mean daily suspended-sediment concentration from the two glacier basins. Specific suspended-sediment yields from Finsterwalderbreen (710–2900 t km−2 a−1) were more than one order of magnitude greater than at Austre Brøggerbreen (81–110 t km−2 a−1). These differences are ascribed to the influence of thermal regime upon the meltwater drainage system and the predominant sources of suspended sediment. The potential significance of glacier thermal regime is further explored using studies from other glacier basins in Svalbard. Variations in thermal regime resulting from mass-balance adjustments since the termination of the Little Ice Age are also examined.

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References

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