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

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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 × 107 m3). 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.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2005

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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