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Onset of calving at supraglacial lakes on debris-covered glaciers of the Nepal Himalaya

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Field surveys of supraglacial ponds on debris-covered glaciers in the Nepal Himalaya clarify that ice-cliff calving occurs when the fetch exceeds ∼80 m. Thermal undercutting is important for calving processes in glacial lakes, and subaqueous ice melt rates during the melt and freeze seasons are therefore estimated under simple geomorphologic conditions. In particular, we focus on the differences between valley wind-driven water currents in various fetches during the melt season. Our results demonstrate that the subaqueous ice melt rate exceeds the ice-cliff melt rate when the fetch is >20 m and water temperature is 2–4°C. Calculations suggest the onset of calving due to thermal undercutting is controlled by water currents driven by winds at the surface of the lake, which develop with expanding water surface.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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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