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Multi-model photogrammetric analysis of the 1990s surge of Sortebræ, East Greenland

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Sortebræ is a surge-type tidewater glacier complexdraining southeast-ward from the Geikie Plateau, East Greenland. Sortebræ's main flow unit surged around 1950 and again between 1992 and 1995. The 1990s surge affected the lower 50 km of Sortebræ over an area of approximately 335 km2. Over a period of <1year the tidewater front advanced <5 km. Surge velocities in the order of kilometres per annum are about 100-fold the quiescent velocities. Multi-model photogrammetric analysis shows a thinning of the reservoir zone of up to 219 m and thickening of the receiving zone of up to 74 m. The surge transported approximately18.6 km3of ice down-glacier. The total calving volume as a result of the surge amounted to 11.7 km3, equivalent to a calving fluxof 3.9-7.3 km3a-1. The surge characteristics and environmental setting suggest that the surge mechanism involves a switch in the subglacial drainage. This surge of Sortebræ is more similar to the fast, short Alaskan-type surges than to the sluggish, long Svalbard-type surges.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2001

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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