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Ward van Pelt

Ward van PeltSVALI post doc: Since January 2014

Subject: Modelling the surface mass balance of Svalbard glaciers

Theme 1: Observing the present – baseline and changes

Work Package 1.3: Surface mass balance changes

Host institute: Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway

The surface mass balance provides the critical link between the glacier surface and atmospheric conditions and is an important measure for the response of glaciers to climate change.  In this project, the main aim is to prepare, calibrate and run a coupled surface energy balance / snowpack model to simulate the long-term evolution of the surface mass balance of glaciers around Kongsfjorden in western Svalbard. Subsurface processes can exert a substantial influence on the surface mass balance, in particular since refreezing of melt water in the snow/firn reduces runoff and glacier mass loss. Whereas regional climate model output will be used to force the coupled model, extensive in situ observational data from stakes, weather stations and snow measurements are used for model parameter estimation.  The analysis of the output will focus on estimating the significance of subsurface processes on the mass budget, as well as detecting multi-decadal trends in surface and firn conditions.  Finally, the role of feedbacks between the atmosphere, glacier surface and subsurface conditions in a changing climate will be investigated.

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