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Surge dynamics and lake outbursts of Kyagar Glacier, Karakoram

Round, Vanessa and Leinss, Silvan and Huss, Matthias and Haemmig, Christoph and Hajnsek, Irena (2016) Surge dynamics and lake outbursts of Kyagar Glacier, Karakoram. The Cryosphere. Copernicus Publications. DOI: 10.5194/tc-2016-236, 2016 ISSN 1994-0416

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Abstract

The recent surge cycle of Kyagar Glacier, in the Chinese Karakoram, caused formation of an ice-dammed lake and subsequent glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) exceeding 50 and 40 millionm3 in 2015 and 2016, respectively. GLOFs from Kyagar Glacier reached double this size in 2002 and earlier, but the role of glacier surging in GLOF formation was previously unrecognised. We present an integrative 5 analysis of the glacier surge dynamics from 2011 to 2016, assessing surge mechanisms and evaluating the surge cycle impact on GLOFs. Over 80 glacier surface velocity fields were created from TanDEM-X, Sentinel-1A and Landsat satellite data. Changes in ice thickness distribution were revealed by a time series of TanDEM-X DEMs. The analysis shows that during a quiescence phase lasting at least 14 years, ice mass built up in a reservoir area at the top of the glacier tongue and the terminus thinned by up to 100 m, but in the two years preceding the surge this pattern 10 reversed. The surge clearly initiated with the onset of the 2014 melt season, and in the following 15 months velocity evolved in a manner consistent with a hydrologically-controlled surge mechanism with dramatic accelerations coinciding with melt seasons, winter deceleration accompanied by subglacial drainage, and rapid surge termination following the 2015 GLOF. Rapid basal motion during surging is seemingly controlled by high water pressure caused by input of surface water into either an inefficient subglacial drainage system or unstable subglacial till. Over 60m of thickening at the terminus caused potential lake 15 volume to increase more than 40-fold since surge onset, to currently more than 70millionm3, indicating that lake formation should be carefully monitored to anticipate large GLOFs in the near future.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/110627/
Document Type:Article
Title:Surge dynamics and lake outbursts of Kyagar Glacier, Karakoram
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Round, Vanessavaw zürichUNSPECIFIED
Leinss, Silvaneth zürichUNSPECIFIED
Huss, Matthiaseth zürichUNSPECIFIED
Haemmig, Christophgeotest zollikofenUNSPECIFIED
Hajnsek, Irenadlr/hr, eth zurichUNSPECIFIED
Date:10 November 2016
Journal or Publication Title:The Cryosphere
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.5194/tc-2016-236, 2016
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
ISSN:1994-0416
Status:Published
Keywords:surge cycle, Kyagar Glacier,glacial lake outburst floods, GLOFs
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Sicherheitsrelevante Erdbeobachtung
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Microwaves and Radar Institute > Radar Concepts
Deposited By: Radzuweit, Sibylle
Deposited On:12 Jan 2017 15:38
Last Modified:09 Jan 2019 12:23

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