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Sub-Seasonal Thaw Slump Mass Wasting is not Consistently Energy Limited at the Landscape Scale

Zwieback, Simon and Kokelj, Steven and Guenther, Frank and Boike, Julia and Grosse, Guido and Hajnsek, Irena (2018) Sub-Seasonal Thaw Slump Mass Wasting is not Consistently Energy Limited at the Landscape Scale. Cryopshere, 12 (2), pp. 549-564. Copernicus Publications. DOI: 10.5194/tc-12-549-2018 ISSN 1994-0416

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Abstract

Predicting future thaw slump activity requires a sound understanding of the atmospheric drivers and geomorphic controls on mass wasting across a range of timescales. On sub-seasonal timescales, sparse measurements indicate that mass wasting at active slumps is often limited by the energy available for melting ground ice, but other factors such as rainfall or the formation of an insulating veneer may also be relevant. To study the sub-seasonal drivers, we derive topographic changes from single-pass radar interferometric data acquired by the TanDEM-X satellites. The estimated elevation changes at 12m resolution complement the commonly observed planimetric retreat rates by providing information on volume losses. Their high vertical precision (around 30 cm), frequent observations (11 days) and large coverage (5000 km(2)) allow us to track mass wasting as drivers such as the available energy change during the summer of 2015 in two study regions. We find that thaw slumps in the Tuktoyaktuk coastlands, Canada, are not energy limited in June, as they undergo limited mass wasting (height loss of around 0 cm day 1) despite the ample available energy, suggesting the widespread presence of early season insulating snow or debris veneer. Later in summer, height losses generally increase (around 3 cm day 1), but they do so in distinct ways. For many slumps, mass wasting tracks the available energy, a temporal pattern that is also observed at coastal yedoma cliffs on the Bykovsky Peninsula, Russia. However, the other two common temporal trajectories are asynchronous with the available energy, as they track strong precipitation events or show a sudden speed-up in late August respectively. The observed temporal patterns are poorly related to slump characteristics like the headwall height. The contrasting temporal behaviour of nearby thaw slumps highlights the importance of complex local and temporally varying controls on mass wasting.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/119182/
Document Type:Article
Title:Sub-Seasonal Thaw Slump Mass Wasting is not Consistently Energy Limited at the Landscape Scale
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Zwieback, SimonETH ZürichUNSPECIFIED
Kokelj, StevenUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Guenther, FrankAWI-PotsdamUNSPECIFIED
Boike, JuliaAWI-PotsdamUNSPECIFIED
Grosse, GuidoAlfred-Wegener-Institut, PotsdamUNSPECIFIED
Hajnsek, IrenaDLR/HR, ETH ZurichUNSPECIFIED
Date:14 February 2018
Journal or Publication Title:Cryopshere
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:12
DOI :10.5194/tc-12-549-2018
Page Range:pp. 549-564
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Series Name:CRYOSPHERE
ISSN:1994-0416
Status:Published
Keywords:YUKON-TERRITORY; GROUND-ICE; TANDEM-X; NORTHWEST-TERRITORIES; NORTHEAST SIBERIA; LATE QUATERNARY; THERMAL REGIME; PEEL PLATEAU; LENA DELTA; LAPTEV SEA
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:02 Mar 2018 14:25
Last Modified:24 Apr 2019 14:16

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