Thermal regime of a valley glacier, Erikbreen, northern Spitsbergen

Authors

  • RUNE STRAND DEGARD,

    1. R. S. 0degard, P. H. Bø, B. Etzelmuller, G. Value and J. L. Sollid, Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1042 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway; S.-E. Hamran, Environmental Surveillance Technology Program, P.O. Box 89, N-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway.
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  • SVEIN-ERIK HAMRAN,

    1. R. S. 0degard, P. H. Bø, B. Etzelmuller, G. Value and J. L. Sollid, Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1042 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway; S.-E. Hamran, Environmental Surveillance Technology Program, P.O. Box 89, N-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway.
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  • PER HELGE Bø,

    1. R. S. 0degard, P. H. Bø, B. Etzelmuller, G. Value and J. L. Sollid, Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1042 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway; S.-E. Hamran, Environmental Surveillance Technology Program, P.O. Box 89, N-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway.
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  • BERND ETZELMULLER,

    1. R. S. 0degard, P. H. Bø, B. Etzelmuller, G. Value and J. L. Sollid, Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1042 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway; S.-E. Hamran, Environmental Surveillance Technology Program, P.O. Box 89, N-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway.
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  • GEIR VATNE,

    1. R. S. 0degard, P. H. Bø, B. Etzelmuller, G. Value and J. L. Sollid, Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1042 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway; S.-E. Hamran, Environmental Surveillance Technology Program, P.O. Box 89, N-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway.
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  • JOHAN LUDVIG SOLLID

    1. R. S. 0degard, P. H. Bø, B. Etzelmuller, G. Value and J. L. Sollid, Department of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1042 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway; S.-E. Hamran, Environmental Surveillance Technology Program, P.O. Box 89, N-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway.
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Abstract

The thermal regime of the valley glacier, Erikbreen, northern Spitsbergen (79°40′N, 12°30′E) was studied using radio-echo sounding and temperature measurements from eight boreholes ranging from 13.5 to 24 m. Radar images indicate a glacier with a two-layered thermal structure. A surface layer of cold ice, 20 to 60 m thick along the centre flow line, extends from an altitude above equilibrium line to the glacier front. This layer represents 20 to 35% of the glacier thickness, except at the floating front, where the cold layer is about 50%. The ice beneath the cold surface layer is interpreted to be temperate. Cold-based areas exist near the glacier margin and in some locations in the accumulation area; the ice is interpreted to be entirely temperate in central parts of the accumulation area at high altitude. Freezing of temperate ice at the base of the cold surface layer is probably the main mechanism of cold ice formation in the frontal parts of Erikbreen. Calculated heat fluxes based on the borehole measurements show that a steady state cold layer 25 to 30 m thick is likely, assuming a surface melting of 1.7 m/y and a maximum water content of 3%. In the frontal parts the calculated mean annual upward heat flux at 10 to 15 m depth is roughly 0.6 W/m2.

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