Journal article

Decadal evolution of a very small heavily debris-covered glacier in an Alpine permafrost environment

  • Capt, M. Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Bosson, Jean-Baptiste Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Fischer, Mauro Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Micheletti, N. Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Lambiel, Christophe Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
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    27.06.2016
Published in:
  • Journal of Glaciology. - 2016, vol. 62, no. 233, p. 535–551
English Glacier response to climate forcing can be heterogeneous and complex, depending on glacier system characteristics. This article presents the decadal evolution of the Tsarmine Glacier (Swiss Alps), a very small and heavily debris-covered cirque glacier located in the Alpine periglacial belt. Archival aerial photogrammetry and autocorrelation of orthophotos were used to compute surface elevation, volume and geodetic mass changes, as well as horizontal displacement rates for several periods between 1967 and 2012. A GPR survey allowed us to investigate glacier thickness (15 m mean) and volume (4 × 106 m3) in 2015 and to anticipate its future evolution. Different dynamics occurred in recent decades because of the heterogeneous surface characteristics. The climate-sensitive upper debris-free zone contrasts with the progressively stagnant heavily debris-covered glacier tongue. Between 1967 and 2012, the glacier lost 1/3 of its initial volume (2 × 106 m3). The average mass balance stabilised at ~−0.3 m w.e. a −1 since 1999. Compared with other local glaciers, the Tsarmine Glacier shows a particular decadal behaviour both in time (divergence of mass balance since the 2000s) and space (inverted ablation pattern). This might be explained by the combined influence of debris cover, shadow, snow redistribution and permafrost conditions on this very small glacier.
Faculty
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Department
Département de Géosciences
Language
  • English
Classification
Hydrology
License
License undefined
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://folia.unifr.ch/unifr/documents/305089
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