11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
[ACC28-09] Winter speed-up of polythermal surging glacier in West Kunun Shan
Keywords:glacier surging, SAR, West Kunlun Shan, winter speed-up
We examined the spatial-temporal evolution of the surface velocities at the two surging glaciers in West Kunlun Shan, northwestern Tibet, applying the offset-tracking method to both ALOS/PALSAR and TerraSAR-X SAR imageries. West Kunlun Shan is one of the driest and the coldest region around Tibetan Plateau. Accumulation and ablation mainly concentrates during May-September (Zhang et al. 1989). An ice cap is frozen to the bed (Thompson et al., 1995), whereas many glaciers are found to be polythermal type glaciers (Aniya 2008).
Two surging had already activated by 2007 and still continued by 2014, gradually changing their flow speed. Furthermore, we detected the surging flow modulated seasonally that the flow speeds increased up to 〜180-200% in late fall to winter against in spring to early summer. Pressure melting and frictional heating have been proposed to explain the years-long surging flow at poly-thermal glaciers. But the observed seasonal modulation strongly suggests that the influx of surface meltwater influenced the surging flow, indicating that the hydrological processes play an important role under the sub-polar environment.