Distribution and pattern of shallow melting at the local glaciers of Terra Nova Bay (Antarctica) coast
Abstract:Melting is a fundamental process in glacier mass balance as well as in other glacial processes such as ice movement, ice avalanches and snow metamorphism. At Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, the annual mean temperature is <0°C but melting is not negligible. Our data show that melting is present up to 1300 m a.s.l. The distribution and relative importance of melting change with elevation and exposure. At low elevation and with a southerly exposure, melting is one of the major summer ablation processes, synergetic with dry calving and katabatic wind. Meltwater seepage reaches the glacier substrate. Discharge appears to be linked to irradiation, offset by a few hours relative to it. The frontal area of the glaciers therefore behaves like an aquifer, and its characteristics depend on the morphology of the front. As elevation increases, melting at first becomes limited to the snowpack, then to low-albedo cases, for example when dust is brought in from the areas surrounding the glacier. In this case, melting limits ablation, providing the snow with increased resistance to wind erosion.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2004-06-01
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