Publication details

Seasonal dynamics of snow ablation on selected glaciers in central Spitsbergen derived from Sentinel-2 satellite images

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Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Glaciology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Glacier ablation phenomena; glacier mass balance; snow; wind-blown snow
Description The dynamics of seasonal snow ablation on six glaciers in central Spitsbergen (Dicksonland) were assessed by examining a set of Sentinel-2 satellite images covering the summer ablation season for the period 2016-19. All glaciers lost 80% or more of their surface snow cover during the studied ablation seasons. This bolsters the recently observed trend of local glacier thinning, even at higher altitudes. Snow ablation dynamics are highly dependent on the glaciers altitudes, their position relative to the prevailing wind direction and the exposure to insolation. The accumulation areas of the studied glaciers were delimited based on the overlap of the minimum extent of snow-covered areas in the four consecutive studied summer seasons. The high temporal and spatial resolutions of available images enabled a detailed description of the seasonal snow ablation dynamics. Moreover, an estimate of the average number of days with below threshold glacier snow cover was made. This study contributes to our understanding of recent processes and might further support the modelling of glacier melt and subsequent runoff.
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