Köhler, Andreas; Pętlicki, Michał; Lefeuvre, Pierre-Marie; Buscaino, Giuseppa; Nuth, Christopher; Weidle, Christian

Frontal ablation contributes significantly to the mass balance of tidewater glaciers in Svalbard and can be recovered with high temporal resolution using continuous seismic records. Determination of the relative contribution of dynamic ice loss through calving to frontal ablation requires precise estimates of calving volumes at the same temporal resolution. We combine seismic and hydroacoustic observations close to the calving front of Kronebreen, a marine-terminating glacier in Svalbard, with repeat lidar scanning of the glacier front. Simultaneous time-lapse photography is used to assign volumes measured from lidar scans to seismically detected calving events. Empirical models derived from signal properties such as integrated amplitude are able to replicate volumes of individual calving events and cumulative subaerial ice loss over different lidar scan intervals from seismic and hydroacoustic data alone. This enables quantification of the contribution of calving to frontal ablation, which we estimate for Kronebreen to be about 18 %–30 %, slightly below the subaerially exposed area of the glacier front. We further develop a model calibrated for the permanent seismic Kings Bay station (KBS) at about 15 km distance from the glacier front, where 15 %–60 % of calving events can be detected under variable noise conditions due to reduced signal amplitudes at distance. Between 2007 and 2017, we find a 5 %–30 % contribution of calving ice blocks to frontal ablation, which emphasizes the importance of underwater melting (roughly 4–9 m dinline-formula−1). This study shows the feasibility to seismically monitor not only frontal ablation rates but also the dynamic ice loss contribution continuously and at high temporal resolution.



Köhler, Andreas / Pętlicki, Michał / Lefeuvre, Pierre-Marie / et al: Contribution of calving to frontal ablation quantified from seismic and hydroacoustic observations calibrated with lidar volume measurements. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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