Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Quantifying the predictability of the timing of jökulhlaups from Merzbacher Lake, Kyrgyzstan

  • Jonathan Kingslake (a1) and Felix NG (a1)

Abstract

Glacier-dammed lakes can yield subglacial outburst floods (jökulhlaups) repeatedly. Predicting flood timing is crucial for hazard mitigation, but incomplete understanding of flood-initiation physics makes this challenging. Here we examine the predictability of the timing of jökulhlaups from Merzbacher Lake, Kyrgyzstan, using five flood-date prediction models of varying complexity. The simplest model, which offers a benchmark against which the other models are compared, assumes that floods occur on the same date each year. The other four models predict flood dates using a flood-initiation threshold approach and incorporate weather forcing (approximated by the output of two climate reanalyses) behind the meltwater input to the lake; the most complex of these models accounts for a moving subglacial water divide beneath the glacier that dams the lake. Each model is optimized against recorded flood dates to maximize its prediction ability. In terms of their flood prediction ability, our two best models are those that assume a variable outburst threshold governed by the rate of meltwater input to the lake and the rate of lake-level rise. They excel over the simplest and most complex models and correctly predict flood dates to within ±20 days 57.4% of the time. We also quantify the impact of weather uncertainty on prediction success. Our findings can inform practical flood-forecasting schemes and future investigations of flood-initiation physics.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Quantifying the predictability of the timing of jökulhlaups from Merzbacher Lake, Kyrgyzstan
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Quantifying the predictability of the timing of jökulhlaups from Merzbacher Lake, Kyrgyzstan
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Quantifying the predictability of the timing of jökulhlaups from Merzbacher Lake, Kyrgyzstan
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Aizen, VB and Aizen, EM (1998) Estimation of glacial runoff to the Tarim River, central Tien Shan. IAHS Publ. 248 (Symposium at Merano 1998 – Hydrology, Water Resources and Ecology in Headwaters), 191–98
Aizen, VB, Aizen, EM and Kuzmichenok, VA (2007) Glaciers and hydrological changes in the Tien Shan: simulation and prediction. Environ. Res. Lett., 2(4), 045019 (doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/045019)
Anderson, RS, Walder, JS, Anderson, SP, Trabant, DC and Fountain, AG (2005) The dynamic response of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, USA, to the Hidden Creek Lake outburst flood. Ann. Glaciol., 40, 237–242 (doi: 10.3189/172756405781813438)
Barnett, TP, Adam, JC and Lettenmaier, DP (2005) Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions. Nature, 438(7066), 303309 (doi: 10.1038/nature04141)
Bartholomaus, TC, Anderson, RS and Anderson, SP (2011) Growth and collapse of the distributed subglacial hydrologic system of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, USA, and its effects on basal motion. J. Glaciol., 57(206), 9851002 (doi: 10.3189/002214311798843269)
Bell, RE, Studinger, M, Shuman, CA, Fahnestock, MA and Joughin, I (2007) Large subglacial lakes in East Antarctica at the onset of fast-flowing ice streams. Nature, 445(7130), 904907 (doi: 10.1038/nature05554)
Benn, DI, Hulton, NRJ and Mottram, RH (2007) ‘Calving laws’ , ‘sliding laws’ and the stability of tidewater glaciers. Ann. Glaciol., 46, 123130 (doi: 10.3189/172756407782871161)
Björnsson, H (2003) Subglacial lakes and jökulhlaups in Iceland. Global Planet. Change, 35(3–4), 255271 (doi: 10.1016/S0921- 8181(02)00130-3)
Björnsson, H (2004) Glacial lake outburst floods in mountain environments. In Owens, P and Slaymaker, O eds. Mountain geomorphology. Edward Arnold, London, 165184
Brown, RG (2004) Smoothing, forecasting and prediction of discrete time series. Courier Dover, New York
Burke, MJ, Woodward, J, Russell, AJ and Fleisher, PJ (2009) Structural controls on englacial esker sedimentation: Skeiðarárjökull, Iceland. Ann. Glaciol., 50(51), 8592 (doi: 10.3189/172756409789097568)
Carrivick, JL (2007) Hydrodynamics and geomorphic work of jökulhlaups (glacial outburst floods) from Kverkfjöll volcano, Iceland. Hydrol. Process., 21(6), 725740 (doi: 10.1002/hyp.6248)
Cenderelli, DA and Wohl, EE (2003) Flow hydraulics and geomorphic effects of glacial-lake outburst floods in the Mount Everest region, Nepal. Earth Surf. Process. Landf., 28(4), 385407 (doi: 10.1002/esp.448)
Clague, JJ and Mathews, WH (1973) The magnitude of jökulhlaups. J. Glaciol., 12(66), 501504
Clarke, GKC (1982) Glacier outburst floods from ‘Hazard Lake’, Yukon Territory, and the problem of flood magnitude prediction. J. Glaciol., 28(98), 321
Clarke, GKC (2003) Hydraulics of subglacial outburst floods: new insights from the Spring–Hutter formulation. J. Glaciol., 49(165), 299313 (doi: 10.3189/172756503781830728)
Evatt, GW, Fowler, AC, Clark, CD and Hulton, NRJ (2006) Sub-glacial floods beneath ice sheets. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London, Ser. A, 364(1844), 17691794 (doi: 10.1098/rsta.2006.1798)
Flowers, GE, Björnsson, H, Pálsson, R and Clarke, GKC (2004) A coupled sheet–conduit mechanism for jökulhlaup propagation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(5), L05401 (doi: 10.1029/2003GL019088)
Fowler, AC (1999) Breaking the seal at Grímsvötn, Iceland. J. Glaciol., 45(151), 506516
Fowler, AC (2009) Dynamics of subglacial floods. Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A, 465(2106), 18091828 (doi: 10.1098/rspa.2008.0488)
Glen, JW (1954) The stability of ice-dammed lakes and other water-filled holes in glaciers. J. Glaciol., 2(15), 316318
Huss, M, Bauder, A, Werder, M, Funk, M and Hock, R (2007) Glacier-dammed lake outburst events of Gornersee, Switzerland. J. Glaciol., 53(181), 189200 (doi: 10.3189/172756507782202784)
Jóhannesson, T (2002) Propagation of a subglacial flood wave during the initiation of a jökulhlaup. Hydrol. Sci. J., 47(3), 417434
Kalnay, E and 21 others (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 77(3), 437471 (doi: 10.1175/1520-0477(1996)077<0437:TNYRP>2.0.CO;2)
Kingslake, J and Ng, F (2013) Modelling the coupling of flood discharge with glacier flow during jökulhlaups. Ann. Glaciol., 54(63), 2531 (doi: 10.3189/2013AoG63A331)
Kistler, R and 12 others (2001) The NCEP/NCAR 50-year reanalysis: monthly means CD-ROM and documentation. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 82(2), 247267 (doi: 10.1175/1520-0477(2001) 082<0247:TNNYRM>2.3.CO;2)
Liestøl, O (1956) Glacier dammed lakes in Norway. Nor. Geogr. Tidsskr., 15(3–4), 122149 (doi: 10.1080/00291955608542772)
Liu, J (1992) Jökulhlaups in the Kunmalike River, southern Tien Shan Mountains, China. Ann. Glaciol., 16, 8588
Magnússon, E, Rott, H, Björnsson, H and Pálsson, F (2007) The impact of jökulhlaups on basal sliding observed by SAR interferometry on Vatnajökull, Iceland. J. Glaciol., 53(181), 232240 (doi: 10.3189/172756507782202810)
Magnússon, E, Björnsson, H, Rott, H and Pálsson, F (2010) Reduced glacier sliding caused by persistent drainage from a subglacial lake. Cryosphere, 4(1), 1320
Mamatkanov, DM and Deng, M (2011) Water and hydropower resources of the Sarydjaz-Kumaryk river and prospects of their use. In Tuzova, TV and Dzhumanazarova, AZ eds. Proceedings of AASA Regional Workshop on the Roles of Academies of Sciences in Water and Energy Problems in Central Asia and Ways for their Solution, 30 June–2 July 2011, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. National Academy of Sciences (NAS KR), Bishkek, 190195 http://www.interacademies.net/File.aspx?id=16818
Mavlyudov, BR (1997) Drainage of the ice-dammed Mertzbacher Lake, Tien Shan. Mater. Glyatsiol. Issled./Data Glaciol. Stud. 81, 6165
Mayer, C, Lambrecht, A, Hagg, W, Helm, A and Scharrer, K (2008) Post-drainage ice dam response at Lake Merzbacher, Inylchek Glacier, Kyrgyzstan. Geogr. Ann. A, 90(1), 8796 (doi: 10.1111/ j.1468-0459.2008.00336.x)
Ng, F and Björnsson, H (2003) On the Clague–Mathews relation for jökulhlaups. J. Glaciol., 49(165), 161172 (doi: 10.3189/72756503781830836)
Ng, F and Liu, S (2009) Temporal dynamics of a jökulhlaup system. J. Glaciol., 55(192), 651665 (doi: 10.3189/002214309789470897)
Ng, F, Liu, S, Mavlyudov, B and Wang, Y (2007) Climatic control on the peak discharge of glacier outburst floods. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(21), L21503 (doi: 10.1029/2007GL031426)
Nye, JF (1976) Water flow in glaciers: jökulhlaups, tunnels and veins. J. Glaciol., 17(76), 181207
Riesen, P, Sugiyama, S and Funk, M (2010) The influence of the presence and drainage of an ice-marginal lake on the flow of Gornergletscher, Switzerland. J. Glaciol., 56(196), 278286 (doi: 10.3189/002214310791968575)
Roberts, MJ, Tweed, FS, Russell, AJ, Knudsen, Ó and Harris, TD (2003) Hydrologic and geomorphic effects of temporary ice-dammed lake formation during jökulhlaups. Earth Surf. Process. Landf., 28(7), 723737 (doi: 10.1002/esp.476)
Russell, AJ and 6 others (2006) Icelandic jökulhlaup impacts: implications for ice-sheet hydrology, sediment transfer and geomorphology. Geomorphology, 75(1–2), 3364 (doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2005.05.018)
Sergienko, OV and Hulbe, CL (2011) ‘Sticky spots’ and subglacial lakes under ice streams of the Siple Coast, Antarctica. Ann. Glaciol., 52(58), 1822 (doi: 10.3189/172756411797252176)
Sergienko, OV, MacAyeal, DR and Bindschadler, RA (2007) Causes of sudden, short-term changes in ice-stream surface elevation. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(22), L22503 (doi: 10.1029/2007GL031775)
Shen, Y, Wang, G, Chun, S, Mao, W and Wang, S (2007) Response of glacier flash flood to climate warming in the Tarim River Basin. Adv. Climate Change Res., 3, Suppl. 0051-06, 5156
Spring, U and Hutter, K (1981) Numerical studies of jökulhlaups. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 4(3), 227244 (doi: 10.1016/0165-232X(81)90006-9)
Stearns, LA, Smith, BE and Hamilton, GS (2008) Increased flow speed on a large East Antarctic outlet glacier caused by subglacial floods. Nature Geosci., 1(12), 827831 (doi: 10.1038/ngeo356)
Sugiyama, S, Bauder, A, Weiss, P and Funk, M (2007) Reversal of ice motion during the outburst of a glacier-dammed lake on Gornergletscher, Switzerland. J. Glaciol., 53(181), 172180 (doi: 10.3189/172756507782202847)
Thórarinsson, S (1953) Some new aspects of the Grímsvötn problem. J. Glaciol., 2(14), 267275
Uppala, SM and 45 others (2005) The ERA-40 re-analysis. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 131(612), 29613212 (doi: 10.1256/qj.04.176)
Walder, JS and Costa, JE (1996) Outburst floods from glacier-dammed lakes: the effect of mode of lake drainage on flood magnitude. Earth Surf. Process. Landf., 21(8), 701723 (doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9837(199608)21:8<701::AID-ESP615>3.0. CO;2-2)
Walder, JS and Driedger, CL (1994) Rapid geomorphic change caused by glacial outburst floods and debris flows along Tahoma Creek, Mount Rainier, Washington, U.S.A.Arct. Alp. Res., 26(4), 319327
Walder, JS and 6 others (2005) Fault-dominated deformation in an ice dam during annual filling and drainage of a marginal lake. Ann. Glaciol., 40, 174178 (doi: 10.3189/172756405781813456)
Walder, JS and 6 others (2006) Local response of a glacier to annual filling and drainage of an ice-marginal lake. J. Glaciol., 52(178), 440450 (doi: 10.3189/172756506781828610)
Werder, MA and Funk, M (2009) Dye tracing a jökulhlaup: II. Testing a jökulhlaup model against flow speeds inferred from measurements. J. Glaciol., 55(193), 899908 (doi: 10.3189/002214309790152375)
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed