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Observation and Analysis of the Surge of Negribreen, Svalbard and its Relevance for Understanding the Arctic System (SIOS 2017_0010) (Negribreen Surge (SIOS 2017_0010))

The objective of this project is to study the current surge of Negribreen through airborne observation, data analysis and numerical modeling.

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Project date

Starts
2017-06-28

Ends
2022-12-31

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Project type

  • field work
  • remote sensing
  • modelling
  • sios

Discipline

  • cryosphere

Project Keywords

  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier motion/ice sheet motion
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier topography/ice sheet topography
  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / glacier elevation/ice sheet elevation

Fieldwork information

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Type Period From To Coordinates Station Location
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{{fieldwork.lat | number : 6}}°N, {{fieldwork.long | number : 6}}°E
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Summary

Negribreen, a large glacier in Svalbard, is currently surging, it started in summer 2016. Negribreen surges only every 100 years (approximately), it surged last in 1935/36, hence no modern study on this phenomenon exists. The objective of this project is to study the current surge of Negribreen through airborne observation, data analysis and numerical modeling. Airborne observations will include laser altimeter, image and GPS data, along with IMU (attitude) data. Negribreen is a large cold-based glacier. The surge process in Negribreen will be compared with the processes that occurred during the 2011-2013 surge of the Bering-Bagley Glacier System, Alaska. Bering Glacier is a warm-based (temperate glacier). There may also be differences in basal properties of the two glacier systems. Specific objectives include, after (1) Data Collection, (2) Determination of Ice-Surface Elevation in Crevassed Terrain and Calculation of Elevation Changes, (3) Characterization of Structural Provinces Based on Laser Altimeter Data and Image Data, and later (4) Numerical Modeling and Model-Data Comparison. In a larger science frame work, glacier surges are one of only a few forms of glacial accelerations and the least understood one, which is largely due to paucity of observations, because surges occur only rarely and are limited to several geographic regions of the Earth. Our communal lack of understanding of different types of glacial acceleration results in the fact that glacial acceleration is one of the main sources of uncertainty in sea-level rise assessment. The Negribreen project is expected to yield results on the specific problem of surging in Negribreen, in cold based glaciers compared to warm-based glaciers, and on the problem of ice fracturing and crevassing in general. The project lead, Dr. Ute Herzfeld, has worked extensively on the surges of the BBGS in 1993-1995 and in 2011-2013 and on comparative analysis of surges in glaciers of the Icelandic Ice Caps and of other forms of accelerations in outlet glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Field work was conducted in 2017 on 10 and 15 July, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, with support from Airlift (NPI), see report. The 2018 project is approved through an SIOS Access Proposal titled ``Observation and Analysis of the Surge of Negribreen, Svalbard and its Relevance for Understanding the Arctic System" (SIOS 2017_0010).

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