Debris cover and surface melt at a temperate maritime alpine glacier: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Brook, M. S., Hagg, W and Winkler, S (2013) Debris cover and surface melt at a temperate maritime alpine glacier: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology And Geophysics, 56 1: 27-38. doi:10.1080/00288306.2012.736391

Author Brook, M. S.
Hagg, W
Winkler, S
Title Debris cover and surface melt at a temperate maritime alpine glacier: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Journal name New Zealand Journal of Geology And Geophysics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-8306
Publication date 2013-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00288306.2012.736391
Volume 56
Issue 1
Start page 27
End page 38
Total pages 12
Place of publication Singapore, Singapore
Publisher Taylor & Francis Asia Pacific (Singapore)
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Melt rates on glaciers are strongly influenced by the presence of supraglacial debris, which can either enhance or reduce ablation relative to bare ice. Most recently, Franz Josef Glacier has entered into a phase of strong retreat and downwasting, with the increasing emergence of debris on the surface in the ablation zone. Previously at Franz Josef Glacier, melt has only been measured on bare ice. During February 2012, a network of 11 ablation stakes was drilled into locations of varying supraglacial debris thickness on the lower glacier. Mean ablation rates over 9 days varied over the range 1.2–10.1 cm d−1, and were closely related to debris thickness. Concomitant observations of air temperature allowed the application of a degree-day approach to the calculation of melt rates, with air temperature providing a strong indicator of melt. Degree-day factors (df) varied over the range 1.1–8.1 mm d−1 °C−1 (mean of 4.4 mm d−1 °C−1), comparable with rates reported in other studies. Mapping of the current debris cover revealed 0.7 km2 of the 4.9 km2 ablation zone surface was debris-covered, with thicknesses ranging 1–50 cm. Based on measured debris thicknesses and df, ablation on debris-covered areas of the glacier is reduced by a total of 41% which equates to a 6% reduction in melt overall across the entire ablation zone. This study highlights the usefulness of a short-term survey to gather representative ablation data, consistent with numerous overseas ablation studies on debris-covered glaciers.
Keyword Ablation
Debris cover
Franz Josef Glacier
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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Created: Fri, 11 Apr 2014, 01:29:12 EST by Claire Lam on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management