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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 9, 1183–1190, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-9-1183-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 9, 1183–1190, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-9-1183-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 05 Jun 2015

Research article | 05 Jun 2015

Winter speed-up of quiescent surge-type glaciers in Yukon, Canada

T. Abe and M. Furuya T. Abe and M. Furuya
  • Department of Natural History Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Abstract. Glacier surges often initiate in winter, but the mechanism remains unclear in contrast to the well-known summer speed-up at normal glaciers. To better understand the mechanism, we used radar images to examine spatial-temporal changes in the ice velocity of surge-type glaciers near the border of Alaska and the Yukon, focusing on their quiescent phase. We found significant accelerations in the upstream region from autumn to winter, regardless of surging episodes. Moreover, the winter speed-up propagated from upstream to downstream. Given the absence of surface meltwater input in winter, we suggest the presence of water storage near the base that does not directly connect to the surface, yet can promote basal sliding through increased water pressure. Our findings have implications for the modelling of glacial hydrology in winter, which may help us better understand glacier dynamics.

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Whereas glacier surge is known to often initiate in winter, we show significant winter speed-up signals in the upstream region even at quiescent surge-type glaciers in Yukon, Canada. Moreover, the winter speed-up region expanded from upstream to downstream. Given the absence of surface meltwater input in winter, we speculate the presence of englacial water storage that does not directly connect to the surface, yet can promote basal sliding through increased water pressure.
Whereas glacier surge is known to often initiate in winter, we show significant winter speed-up...
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