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Workshop on melt water retention of glaciers (DTU)

14th - 15th of October 2014 a scientific workshop on Melt water retention of glaciers was held at the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby.

The presentations and discussion at the seminar showed that diverse approaches are applied when trying to understand and to quantify the melt water retention in multi-year snow (a.k.a. firn). And, due to the lack of ability to track and to map water movement in firn we still lack a unifying model that can adequately explain the fate and hence retention of melt water inside initially cold firn. Firn cores document very large spatial variability in location and extend of ice horizons, which must give rise to highly inhomogeneous flow paths in the upper tens of meters of firn. In high accumulation and high melt rate areas such as south-eastern and southern Greenland ice sheet melt water can be detected from airborne and satellite remote sensing as filling a continuous “perennial aquifer”.

The workshop has concluded that improving land ice climate projections needs better estimates of water retention, by:

  • Better estimates/understanding of the processes that control melt water transitions from percolation in firn to preferential flow in firn to horizontal routing of water that eventually become supraglacial streams.
  • In the percolation area we can estimate melt water retention because by definition it does not exit the cold snow. And, in zones with no- or very limited firn overlaying solid ice algorithms are available for quantifying the development of superimposed-ice. Yet, we need to improve retention understanding/quantification in the remaining areas and come up with common rules/algorithms.
  • For better process understanding a combination of physical and stochastic modelling should be established.
  • Observation on temporal and spatial evolution is key to understanding governing physical processes

The seminar was arranged by Arctic Technology Centre and financed by SVALI. 

More information here.

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Last modified : Nov. 28, 2014
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