Supraglacial debris thickness and supply rate in High-Mountain Asia

McCarthy, Michael, Miles, Evan, Kneib, Marin, Buri, Pascal, Fugger, Stefan and Pellicciotti, Francesca (2022) Supraglacial debris thickness and supply rate in High-Mountain Asia. Communications Earth & Environment, 3 (1). p. 269. ISSN 2662-4435

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Supraglacial debris strongly modulates glacier melt rates and can be decisive for ice dynamics and mountain hydrology. It is ubiquitous in High-Mountain Asia, yet because its thickness and supply rate from local topography are poorly known, our ability to forecast regional glacier change and streamflow is limited. Here we combined remote sensing and numerical modelling to resolve supraglacial debris thickness by altitude for 4689 glaciers in High-Mountain Asia, and debris-supply rate to 4141 of those glaciers. Our results reveal extensively thin supraglacial debris and high spatial variability in both debris thickness and supply rate. Debris-supply rate increases with the temperature and slope of debris-supply slopes regionally, and debris thickness increases as ice flow decreases locally. Our centennial-scale estimates of debris-supply rate are typically an order of magnitude or more lower than millennial-scale estimates of headwall-erosion rate from Beryllium-10 cosmogenic nuclides, potentially reflecting episodic debris supply to the region’s glaciers.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This study would not have been possible without the in-situ supraglacial debris thickness data we used for validation, from colleagues including Bhanu Pratap, Lavkush Patel, and from the Zenodo Community of the IACS Working Group on Debris Covered Glaciers. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program grant agreement No 772751, RAVEN, "Rapid mass losses of debris-covered glaciers in High Mountain Asia”.
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2022 14:10
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2022 14:15

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