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Suspended and solute transport in a small glaciated catchment Bertram River, Central Spitsbergen, in 2005-2006

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Abstract:

The paper presents data on hydrochemistry and suspended sediment dynamics from a small glaciated catchment in Svalbard. Such catchments, formerly omitted and neglected in investigations of polar and high-mountain geo-ecosystems, have become an important subject of environmental research in recent years. High sensitivity to global warming, relative ease of taking measurements, the variety of locations, and further possibilities of modelling, make the catchments important sites for studying glaciological, hydrological and geomorphological processes. Hydrochemical data from seasonal observations and complementary 24-hour measurements, together with detailed geomorphological mapping of river channels and their surroundings, served as a basis for scientific description of the conditioning of seasonal and diurnal variations in suspended and solute matter transport in a small High Arctic catchment. Bertram River is distinguished by a system of waterfalls which divides the 4.9 km2 catchment in two parts: an upper glaciated part located on mountainous plateau, and a lower part where an abraided plain has been formed within the bottom of the Ebba River valley. On the basis of observations it is concluded that a particular role in the conditioning of glaciofluvial transport was played by an extreme weather event in the form of fohn-type wind, observed in the decline of ablation season and also by waterfalls which diversified the fluvial activity.

Keywords: High Arctic river systems; Spitsbergen; glaciated catchment; glaciofluvial transport; hydrochemistry

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291950902901002

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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