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Quantifying supraglacial debris-related melt-altering effects on the Djankuat Glacier, Russian Federation, Part 1: comparison of surface energy and mass fluxes over clean and debris-covered ice
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  • Yoni Verhaegen,
  • Oleg Rybak,
  • Victor Popovnin,
  • Philippe Huybrechts
Yoni Verhaegen
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Corresponding Author:yoni.verhaegen@vub.be

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Oleg Rybak
Water Problems Institute
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Victor Popovnin
Moscow State University
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Philippe Huybrechts
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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This work presents a comparison of the meteorology and the surface energy and mass fluxes of the clean ice and debris-covered ice surfaces of the Djankuat Glacier, a partly debris-covered valley glacier situated in the Caucasus. A 2D spatially distributed and physically-based energy and mass balance model at high spatial and temporal resolution is used, driven by meteorological data from two automatic weather stations and ERA5-Land reanalysis data. Our model is the first that attempts to assesses the spatial variability of meteorological variables, energy fluxes, mass fluxes, and the melt-altering effects of supraglacial debris over the entire surface of a (partly) debris-covered glacier during one complete measurement year. The results show that the meteorological variables and the surface energy and mass balance components are significantly modified due to the supraglacial debris. As such, changing surface characteristics and different surface temperature/moisture and near-surface wind regimes persist over debris-covered ice, consequently altering the pattern of the energy and mass fluxes when compared to clean ice areas. The eventual effect of the supraglacial debris on the energy and mass balance and the surface-atmosphere interaction is found to highly depend upon the debris thickness and area: for thin and patchy debris, sub-debris ice melt is enhanced when compared to clean ice, whereas for thicker and continuous debris, the melt is increasingly suppressed. Our results highlight the importance of the effect of supraglacial debris on glacier-atmosphere interactions and the corresponding implications for the changing melting patterns and the climate change response of (partly) debris-covered glaciers.
02 Mar 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
06 Mar 2023Published in ESS Open Archive