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Dickson Land Ice Masses Evolution (DIL*ICE)

The main scientific problem of the following project is to determine the response of Dickson Land glaciers (central Svalbard) to contemporary climate change and to characterize their current state and functioning. Defining the past and future evolution of glacial systems in the whole region will concern the analysis of their geometry changes (thick

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Project date

Starts
2011-04-01

Ends
2021-10-31

Project status

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Project type

  • field work
  • remote sensing
  • modelling
  • long-term monitoring

Discipline

  • cryosphere

Project Keywords

  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / ablation zones/accumulation zones
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glaciers
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier mass balance/ice sheet mass balance
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier topography/ice sheet topography
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier thickness/ice sheet thickness
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier elevation/ice sheet elevation
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Summary

The main scientific problem of the following project is to determine the response of Dickson Land glaciers (central Svalbard) to contemporary climate change and to characterize their current state and functioning. Defining the past and future evolution of glacial systems in the whole region will concern the analysis of their geometry changes (thickness, area, length) and mass balance in 20th and 21st century, in relation to changing climatic conditions in this area. The region selected for detailed studies is located in Spitsbergen - the largest island of heavily glaciated Svalbard archipelago. Central parts of Spitsbergen (including Dickson Land) show an increased continentality of climate and little glacier-cover when compared to coastal regions. It is therefore expected to observe in the island’s arid interior a very high mass deficit of small valley glaciers and radical changes in their geometry and dynamics. As for now, there are strong evidences for such a glacier behavior. Fieldworks will be carried out in Petuniabukta basin, Billefjorden - one of the most glaciated (ca. 35%) areas of Dickson Land. All the glaciers, both of Petuniabukta basin as well as in the whole region, are objects of scientific interest in the following project. Apart from that the most detailed studies will be carried out on Svenbreen - a small (3.9 km2) valley glacier chosen as representative for Dickson Land, concerning its size, type, elevation range (180-750 m a.s.l.) and different aspects (N, S, E). Moreover, its dynamics are typical for the region - permanent retreat of ice front is observed after termination of the Little Ice Age and no evidence for past surges has been found. On the basis of previous observations it may be stated that Svenbreen is polythermal. The works will cover: GIS analysis; geodetic surveys; mass balance measurements on Svenbreen; meteorological and hydrological monitoring of Svenbreen coupled with ice thermistors to monitor near surface thermal dynamics; statistical mass balance reconstruction and melt modelling; thermal structure and bedrock soundings with ground penetrating radar.

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