Between 3 June 1982 and 8 July 1985, a stake net consisting of up to 32 stakes covering the greater part of Storglaciären was surveyed 70 times, yielding roughly 2000 separate determinations of vertical and horizontal velocity. The time interval between surveys averaged about 1 week during the summer and 2 months during the winter.
Horizontal velocities were normally highest during periods of high daily temperature or heavy rain early in the melt season. Comparable or sometimes higher temperatures or rainfalls later in the season usually had less effect, though minor velocity peaks were often present in August and early September. During periods for which bore-hole water-level measurements are available, velocity peaks generally coincided with periods of high basal water pressure, but not all periods of high water pressure resulted in velocity peaks. Despite increasing basal water pressures, velocity decreased gradually during the winter.
Vertical velocities also vary seasonally. Beneath the upper part of the ablation area the glacier bed is overdeepened. Vertical velocities here are ˜3 mm/d higher during the summer. Down-glacier from the overdeepening, vertical velocities are ˜1 mm/d lower during the summer. These and other characteristics of the vertical velocity pattern are best explained by appealing to: (1) a decrease in strain-rate with depth, and (2) seasonal variations in this depth-dependence.
Five periods of high velocity lasting from 3 to 11d were studied in detail. In an area where the bed is overdeepened, force-balance calculations suggest that basal drag decreased between 16 and 40% during these high-velocity events. This resulted in a decrease in compressive strain-rate at the up-glacier end of the overdeepening, an increase at the down-glacier end, and a slight increase in lateral shear strain-rates. Down-glacier from the overdeepening, basal drag increased during two events owing to an increased push from up-glacier and pull from down-glacier. Lateral shear strain-rates increased sharply here.