Title Expansion of ice-marginal lakes at the Vatnajokull ice cap, Iceland, from 1999 to 2009
Author Schomacker, A.
Author Affil Schomacker, A., University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences, Reykjavik, Iceland
Source Geomorphology, 119(3-4), p.232-236, . Publisher: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ISSN: 0169-555X
Publication Date July 1, 2010
Notes In English. Based on Publisher- supplied data; includes appendices GeoRef Acc. No: 309746
Index Terms erosion; geomorphology; glacial geology; glacial lakes; glaciers; lakes; LANDSAT; paleoclimatology; remote sensing; rivers; shores; shore erosion; Iceland-- Breidamerkurjokull; Iceland--Vatnajokull; Breidamerkurjokull; Cenozoic; Europe; fluvial features; glacial features; Holocene; ice caps; Iceland; incised valleys; landform evolution; Landsat; modern analogs; Neoglacial; outwash plains; Quaternary; satellite methods; shorelines; upper Holocene; Vatnajokull; Western Europe
Abstract Outlet glaciers from the Vatnajokull ice cap in Iceland, Europe's largest ice cap, have been retreating since the end of the Little Ice Age, only interrupted by short intervals of advances. The net mass balance has been negative since 1995, and ice- marginal lakes in front of the outlets have been expanding since then. The switch from land-based glacier termini to lake- terminating glaciers is an eye-catching environmental change. The heat capacity of the ice-marginal lakes and the change into calving glacier fronts accelerates ice loss from Vatnajokull. Landsat 7ETM+ satellite imagery from 1999 to 2009 reveals high resolution snapshots of the lake development during the last decade. Ice-marginal lakes are growing at many outlet glaciers draining the southern sector of Vatnajokull--this is most pronounced at the large Breidamerkurjokull glacier, where the Jokulsarlon lake expanded from 15 km2 in 2000 to more than 21 km2 in 2009. The lakes act as traps for sediment that was earlier transported across outwash plains toward the Atlantic coast. Hence, the glacier retreat and sediment trapping enhance coastline retreat and river incision in the outwash plains. Similar changes, although at a much larger scale, occurred in many past glaciated regions during the last glacial termination. Thus, the lakes in front of Vatnajokull provide important modern analogues for processes that likely impacted global climate in the past.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.03.022
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 65006366