Subglacial channels, climate warming, and increasing frequency of Alpine
glacier snout collapse
- Pascal Emanuel Egli,
- Bruno Belotti,
- Boris Ouvry,
- James Iving,
- Stuart N Lane
Pascal Emanuel Egli
University of Lausanne
Corresponding Author:firstname.lastname@example.orgAuthor Profile
Department of Geological Sciences, University of IdahoAuthor Profile
AbstractAlpine glacier retreat has increased markedly since the late 1980s, and
is commonly linked to the effects of rising temperature on surface melt.
Less considered are processes associated with glacier surface collapse.
A survey of 22 retreating Swiss glaciers suggests that snout marginal
collapse events have increased in frequency since the late 1980s, driven
by ice thinning and reductions in glacier-longitudinal ice flux.
Detailed measurement of a collapse event at one glacier showed vertical
deformation of the surface above the main subglacial channel. But with
low rates of longitudinal flux and vertical creep closure, this was
insufficient to close the channel in the snout marginal zone. We
hypothesise that this maintains contact between subglacial ice and the
atmosphere, allowing greater incursion of warm air up-glacier, thus
enhancing melt from below. The associated enlargening of subglacial
channels at glacier snouts leads to surface collapse and removal of ice
via fluvial processes.